This winter, many metropolitan cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Lucknow are grappling with air pollution. These cities have made their way to the WHO’s most polluted cities in the world list because of increased levels of air pollutants. We are all aware that air pollution can have adverse effects on our health but did you know that it could be affecting the intelligence levels of kids too? A recent UNICEF report says that air pollution can cause irrevocable damage to young children’s brains. This includes lowering IQ levels, loss of memory, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A chronic condition where kids have difficulty paying attention, and are hyperactive and impulsive) and developmental delays.
In fact, air pollution can show it’s wrath on unborn babies too. A study published by the Journal of Pediatrics linked certain birth defects like cleft lip, abnormal heart valve and so on to pregnant moms being exposed to severe air pollution at the time of conception. Babies born to women who spend a lot of time in toxic environments also have an increased risk of being underweight or being born preterm. It also affects the developing brain of a fetus which could have an influence on the psychological behaviour of the children as they grow up.
Most of our brain development happens in the first 1000 days of our life which approximately translates to 3 years. So, kids under the age of 3 are highly susceptible to brain damage due to the toxins present in the air. A study done by UNICEF suggests that the IQ levels of kids drop by 4 points by the time they turn 5 and exposure to air pollution is a major contributing factor towards it. Because of reduced lung capacity, children tend to breathe more often and rapidly, not just with their noses but with their mouths too, which means that the amount of pollutants they inhale is higher than that of what adults breathe in.
A major air pollutant, PM 2.5 is a particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, these small and fine particles can travel into the respiratory tract and lodge themselves in the lungs. They can be found in the exhaust of vehicles and gases that are emitted from burning of wood, oil, coal or other natural sources.
A UNICEF report claims that these particles can also enter the bloodstream and travel all the way to the brain. A thin membrane called as a blood-brain barrier which is known to protect the brain from harmful and toxic substances is damaged because of PM 2.5 particles. This causes neuroinflammation which is linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
A recent air quality check done in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other metropolitan cities revealed that PM 2.5 levels ranged between 400 and 500 levels which is 10 times the safe limit. During the few days that followed Diwali, the air quality even reached as high as 40 times the WHO (World Health Organization) prescribed grade limit.
Magnetite nanoparticle is another air pollutant which consists of magnetically-charged dust particles that enter the body through the olfactory nerve and affect the human brain. This is extremely toxic for developing brains and is linked to the production of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS could potentially cause neurodegenerative disorders.
Almost 17 million babies worldwide live in highly polluted and toxic environments. Due to the pollutants, the air we breathe is taking years off our life.
Keeping your child enclosed indoors is not a viable option either because the air in your house is more polluted than you think. In fact, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that indoor air quality can be 10 times worse than outdoor air quality. The toxic chemicals present in the paints, ceilings, floor tiles and the smoke that is emitted from cooking, using gas heaters and stoves, all contribute to indoor air pollution. The polluted air from outdoors can also enter your house through creaks in the walls, floors and open doors and windows.
Although air pollution is a thing of concern, there are certain things like keeping your house clean and dust-free, strictly following the no-smoking rule inside the house and using lead-free paint which can reduce indoor air pollution. The best solution to make sure your family breathes healthy is to get an air purifier which filters out the pollutants present in the air and can drastically improve the air quality in your house.
Tinystep recommends Dr. Aeroguard air purifiers which are certified by world-renowned German ‘Gui Lab’ and are equipped with a 9-stage filtration process including active-HEPA filter, anti-allergen and anti-dust filter that will not only get rid of the contaminants but also infuse the goodness of Vitamin C in the air. The vita-ions and diatoms that are released by these purifiers help in keeping the air healthy and refreshing to breathe. Click here to get a free home demo right now and experience clean, healthy air in the comfort of your home. You can buy Dr. Aeroguard air purifier right here!