Health Care

What Are The Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Health?- A Report

Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Health! Air pollutants are emitted on a huge scale on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that such emissions dangerously pollute the atmosphere, posing a serious threat to human health. Millions of air pollutants are inhaled with every breath intake.

High levels of air pollution can have a number of health consequences. It raises the chances of getting respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer. Short-term and long-term exposure to air pollutants has been linked to negative health effects.

People who are already ill are subjected to more severe consequences. Children, the elderly, and the poor are more vulnerable. Fine PM (Particulate Matter) particles that penetrate deep into lung passageways are the most health-harming pollutants, closely associated with excessive premature mortality.

What Are The Types Of Air Pollution?

Air pollution is classified into two types:

  • Outdoor pollution: It is the ambient air pollution.
  • Indoor pollution: It is the pollution produced by domestic combustion of fuels.

What Are The Major Sources Of Air Pollution?

According to the World Health Organization, list of major air pollutants include:

  • Particle pollution
  • Ground-level ozone
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Sulphur oxides
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Lead
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Table below describes the major sources of various air pollutants along with their target organs:

Air pollutantsMajor source of emissionHealth impact target organs
Particle pollution PM (Particulate Matter)Motor-engines Industrial activities SmokesRespiratory diseases Cardiovascular diseases CNS (Central Nervous System) damage Reproductive dysfunction Cancer
Ground-level ozoneVehicular exhaust Industrial activitiesRespiratory diseases Cardiovascular dysfunctions Eye irritation
Carbon monoxideMotor-engines Burning coal, oil and wood Industrial activities SmokesCNS damage Cardiovascular damages
Sulphur oxidesFuel combustion Burning coalRespiratory diseases CNS involvement Eye irritation
Nitrogen oxidesFuel-burning Vehicular exhaustDamage to Liver Lung Spleen Blood
LeadLead smelting Industrial activities Leaded petrolCNS involvement Haematologic dysfunctions Eye irritation
Polycyclic aromatic HydrocarbonsFuel combustion Wood fires Motor enginesRespiratory diseases CNS involvement Cancer
What are the Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health?

Effect Of Air Pollution On Health

People who are exposed to high concentrations of air pollutants experience disease symptoms and states of varying severity. These effects are classified as either short-term or long-term health effects.

Short-Term Exposure To Particulate Pollution Can:

  • Aggravate lung disease causing asthma attacks and acute bronchitis
  • Increase susceptibility to respiratory infections
  • Cause heart attacks and arrhythmias in people with heart disease

High Levels Of Air Pollution Can Result In Immediate Health Problems Such As:

  • Severe cardiovascular and respiratory illness
  • Additional strain on the heart and lungs, which must work harder to provide oxygen to the body.
  • Damaged cells in the respiratory system

Long-Term Exposure To Polluted Air Can Have Long-Term Health Consequences, Including:

  • Accelerated ageing of the lungs
  • Loss of lung capacity and decreased lung function
  • Development of diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and possibly cancer
  • Shortened life span

These issues can be exacerbated by long-term exposure to pollutants, which is harmful to the neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems, as well as causing cancer and, in rare cases, death.

Long-term effects are chronic, lasting years or even a lifetime, and can even result in death. Furthermore, the toxicity of several air pollutants may, in the long run, cause a variety of cancers.

Effect On Respiratory System

Respiratory disorders are closely linked to the inhalation of air pollutants. These pollutants will enter the airways and accumulate in the cells. The pollutant component involved, as well as its source and dose, should be linked to cell damage.

Furthermore, there is an added risk if you have a pre-existing respiratory disease like asthma. Long-term effects are more common in people who have a predisposing disease.

When pollutants contaminate the trachea, voice changes may be observed after acute exposure. Air pollution can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which increases morbidity and mortality.

Cardiovascular Disorders

Multiple cardiovascular effects have been observed after exposure to air pollutants. Changes in blood cells caused by long-term exposure may have an impact on cardiac features and functions.

Long-term exposure to automobile emissions has been linked to coronary arteriosclerosis, whereas short-term exposure has been linked to hypertension, stroke, myocardial infracts, and heart failure. Long-term exposure to nitrogen oxide has been linked to ventricular hypertrophy in humans.

Neurological And Psychological Effects

Neurological effects have been observed in adults and children after prolonged exposure to air pollutants.

Psychological complications, autism, retinopathy, foetal growth, and low birth weight seem to be associated to long-term air pollution. The etiologic agent of the neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) is unknown, but prolonged exposure to air pollution is thought to be a factor.

 Pesticides and metals, in particular, are mentioned as etiological factors, along with diet. Oxidative stress, protein aggregation, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction in neurons are all mechanisms in the development of neurodegenerative disease.

Effects On Skin

As the most exterior layer of our body, skin protects us from ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and other pollutants. Pollutants from traffic can cause pigmented spots on our skin. Skin ageing, psoriasis, acne, urticaria, eczema, and atopic dermatitis may be exacerbated by air pollutants absorbed by the human skin, which are typically caused by exposure to oxides and photochemical smoke.

Smoking and exposure to PM act as skin-aging agents, causing spots, dyschromia, and wrinkles. Eventually, pollutants have been linked to skin cancer.

Effects On Eye

The eye is another external organ that may be affected. Contamination is typically caused by suspended pollutants and can lead to asymptomatic eye outcomes such as irritation, retinopathy, or dry eye syndrome.

What are the Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health?

Who Are More Susceptible To Health Problems As A Result Of Air Pollution?

Those most vulnerable to severe health problems as a result of air pollution are:

  • People suffering from heart disease, coronary artery disease, or congestive heart failure
  • Individuals suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pregnant women
  • Outdoor workers
  • Senior citizens and the elderly
  • Children under the age of 14
  • Athletes who engage in strenuous outdoor exercise

People in these groups may experience health consequences at lower levels of air pollution exposure, or their health effects may be more severe.

Read Also: Why Heart Attacks Are More Common In Winter Season?

Summary

Air pollution is one of our era’s greatest scourges, not only because of its impact on climate change, but also because of its impact on public and individual health due to increased morbidity and mortality. There are numerous pollutants that are major contributors to human disease.

Even healthy people can be harmed by polluted air, which can cause respiratory irritation or breathing difficulties during exercise or outdoor activities. The actual risk of adverse effects is determined by the current health assessment, the type and concentration of pollutant, and the duration of time individuals are exposed to polluted air.

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