Mental health of children threatened by air pollution, according to new Swedish study
A dangerous link between polluted air and childhood mental illness is exposed in a newly published study by Swedish researchers. Blueair, a world leading air Purification Company founded in Sweden 20 years ago, described the research – the first of its kind to study the impact of polluted air on young children and adolescents under 18-years – as a frightening warning to national lawmakers and city authorities around the world.
“This new study firmly underlines how serious the air pollution threat is to everyone, not just in fast-developing nations like India and China, but also in long-industrialized countries like Sweden, which prides itself on having one of the cleanest environments in the world,”said Bengt Rittri, founder and CEO of Blueair. Bengt said the latest findings show that outdoor and indoor air pollution is a problem for everyone, everywhere on the planet, not just people living in cities like Beijing, Delhi, Los Angeles or London that often make headline news because of seriously bad air quality.
The Swedish study was carried out by researchers from Sweden’s Umeå University between July 2007 and December 2010 among 500,000 children and adolescents under the age of 18 in four Swedish counties, which encompassed the country’s three largest cities, including Stockholm, the capital. The study compared information about concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and fine particulates (PM2.5) provided by the Swedish National Register with data from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare about the amount of medications such as sedatives, sleeping pills, and antipsychotics prescribed to youngsters over the same 41-month period.
After collating the evidence, the Umeå researchers said their study – published in the journal BMJ Open – adds to other findings of the detrimental effect air pollution may have on the brains of young people. The study’s lead author Anna Oudin told journalists that there was a 9 percent increase in child mental illness for every ten micrograms per cubic meter increase of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emitted into the air.
“The evidence that air pollution may be increasing the risk of young people suffering mental health illness is pretty alarming for any parent raising a child in a world where 98 percent of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet WHO's global air quality guidelines,” said Bengt Rittri.