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A new study has found that living in an area with toxic air can make you more stupid, and that the longer you spend in a heavily polluted environment the less gooder your brain and your words and that will start to go.
The study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used mathematical and language tests to assess how toxic air affected the mental performance of 20,000 Chinese people from across the country, following the same individuals’ performances as pollution levels fluctuated from year to year. As well as finding that men were affected more than women, the study found that language skills were affected more than maths skills.
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‚ÄúPolluted air can cause everyone to reduce their level of education by one year, which is huge,‚ÄĚ Xi Chen of Yale School of Public Health, a member of the research team, told the Guardian. Chen also said that the effect is amplified in men over the age of 64 and the lower educated, demographics which could lose “a few years of education” because of pollution.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Derrick Ho, another researcher into the effects of pollution on cognitive performance, added that air pollution “can potentially be associated with oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration of humans”.
The World Health Organisation said in May that 40 towns and cities across Britain have air pollution levels either at or beyond its 10 microgram per cubic metre limit for safe air.
Some of the highest levels were recorded in Scunthorpe (15 micrograms per cubic metre), Manchester (13), Swansea (13), Gillingham (13) and Carlisle (12). Leeds, Liverpool, London and Sheffield all came in over the limit.