Air Pollution Linked to Dementia

A report in the July/August 2015 edition of Mother Jones describes the “terrifying” new science that links air pollution to degenerative  brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.   Fine particles can travel up to thousands of miles from their source; ultrafine particles fly as far as six miles. Both kinds of air particles can enter the brain directly from our nostrils along the olfactory nerve. Research is still in the early stages, but autopsies from people in contaminated areas show evidence of both pollution and brain trauma, and epidemiological studies of those still living show elevated rates of brain disease and accelerated mental decline among those who are exposed to higher pollution rates.  The American Lung Association estimates that about 46 million or 15% of the U.S. population are chronically exposed to particle pollution that exceeds EPA standards, and an additional 44.1% are affected on bad air days.    Pollution in some cities in India and China exceed World Heal Organization standards by a factor of six. Worldwide deaths linked to outdoor air pollution include ischemic heart disease, strokes, COPD, lung cancer, and respiratory infections.