Pollution is a great threat to health. According to the World Health Organization, nine million deaths in 2015 were connected to pollution—a killer that far surpassed deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined. Some of the well-known effects of pollution are respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and premature deaths. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2005-2007) discovered that pollution in NYC causes over 3,000 premature deaths and over 8,000 emergency department visits and hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular disease in NYC each year. The consequences of air pollution don’t just stop there as several studies recently found a strong correlation between pollution and fetal brain development impairment.
"Stealth Power's idle reduction technology prevents the release of dangerous greenhouse gases including pollutants known to contribute to adverse health issues. Stealth Power's goal is to reduce dependency on fossil fuel sources and improve air quality..." - Shannon Sentell, Stealth Power's COO
“Pollution levels during pregnancy that adhered to safety standards were nonetheless linked to learning and behavioral problems,” says Gabrielle Levy from US News. Especially during early stages of brain development, children are extremely sensitive to even small exposure to toxic chemicals, let alone breathing in toxic air. In fact, according to the study conducted by Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain and the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam there were deformities in the thickness of the cortex due to air pollution—in areas that controls memory, sense of self, and even emotional regulation such as the occipital lobe and part of prefrontal cortex.
Additionally, the study found that children with abnormalities on the brain would have a higher tendency to have “issues with inhibitory control, including difficulty with impulsive behavior, self-control over temptations, and have been shown to be related to other mental health issues such as addictive behavior and attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder”.
Often, the most common negative effects towards physical health are associated with lungs or heart issues but did not consider the cognitive impairment. “But perhaps we should have learned from studies of maternal smoking that inhaling toxins may have lasting effects on cognitive development,” Dr John Krystal—an editor of Biological Psychology stated. There are multiple damaging outcomes of toxic air that we should consider that caused striking numbers of premature deaths, diseases, and even children’s brain development. The threats of toxic air quality are severe, and the movement for cleaner air quality should be taken seriously.