Study links poor mental health with air pollution

We already know that air pollution is linked to between 28,000-36,000 UK deaths a year (those stats from Public Health England), but now an increase in exposure to nitrogen dioxide has been found to increase the risk of mental health illness.

A new study from the University of Bristol examined 13,000 people in London and found that just a relatively small increase in nitrogen dioxide exposure led to a 32% increase in the risk of needing community-based treatment and 18% increased risk of hospital admissions related to mental health.

The news will bolster the many calls currently being made for a reduction in emissions and increase in provision for alternatives like public transport and cycling.

Cycling has long been linked with boosting mental health and wellbeing. One study in the BMJ Journal found a reduction of 20% in stress levels for those cycling once a week, for example.

The physical benefits are perhaps more obvious, nevertheless there is hard data from the likes of Public Health England  finding that cycling and walking provide a reduced risk of premature mortality. Physical inactivity costs the nation £7.4 billion and is responsible for 1 in 6 UK deaths.

There’s more detail on this latest report from Bristol University in the Guardian.

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