Air pollution affects many things in the world. It is well known that the pollution damages perfectly fine rivers, lakes, or water sources. Indirectly, it also destroys many homes for people and animals. So, the first point is that it harms Earth and the environment. But in what way does air pollution affect us, exactly?
John Hopkins University School of Medicine head and neck surgeon Murray Ramanathan and a group of scientists recorded studies with mice as substitutes for humans. According to them, the small particulates in the air contribute to the same viruses within the nose and sinus areas that give someone a runny nose. These particulates include debris, smoke, dust, and coal typically originating from factories, farms, vehicles, and more.
However, these particulates not only lead to a simple runny nose, but also lung disease, heart disease, asthma, throat inflammation, premature death, and neuro-behavioral disorders.
Scientists reported pollution has become the fourth leading cause of early death, killing 5.5 million people in 2013.
Due to the varying sizes of particulates, some can easily enter through the lungs. For this reason, scientists introduced particulates smaller than 2.5 micrometers to the mice for 16 weeks. They lived and breathed in this environment for six hours a day and five days per week, equivalent to the amount of time a human spends in a polluted environment for years.
Ramanathan states that it was “about half of what we would see in India, or less”, which is not a light thing to take. India’s pollution is so severe that it kills more than 0.5 to 0.6 million people each year, according to a few 2015 studies and the 2014 World Health Organization Report. A new study had also indicated the deaths of 570,000 premature youth due to its abundant pollution.
At the end of the study, the scientists rinsed the mice’s nose and sinus areas and studied the used water. The results had shown damage in the nose towards the exposed mice.
Mark Miller adds that this “adds to a growing list of ways that particles of air pollution have harmful effects around the body”.
It is well known that pollution harms the environment, but now scientists know it affects the health of humans even further.
Hopefully, in the future, scientists innovate to create a solution towards this polluted, damaged environment.