A study published by the American Heart Association shows there may be a correlation between exposure to air pollution and higher levels of stress hormones. This may also explain in part why long-term exposure to high pollution levels are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a shorter life span. While air quality levels have improved some areas due to greener practices and regulation, they are declining elsewhere, and especially in China.
For this recent study, a team of researchers based out of the University in Shanghai, China looked at the effects of inhaled industrial particulate matter that can become lodged in the lungs. What they found was compelling and adds to the growing body of evidence that air pollution has wide-ranging negative effects on the body.
They studied 55 healthy college students in Shanghai. Shanghai has mid-ranged air pollution as compared to other major cities in China, but still well above what is considered safe. They gave each student either a non-working or working air purification system in their dorm room and left them in place for nine days. After that time they were tested, and then they switched and each student that originally had a non-working filter received a working one and vice versa. Then after nine more days, the students were retested.
The student’s levels of cortisol, cortisone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (stress hormones) rose when they were exposed to the dirtier air as did their levels of blood sugar, amino acids, fatty acids, and lipids. They were also found to have higher blood pressure and markers of molecular stress on body tissues which over time can lead to many health problems.
The working air purification systems, when put in place in the dorm rooms, were found to lower the student’s exposure by half. Although this was an improvement, they were still exposed to levels well above the World Health Organizations air quality guidelines of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
The knowledge gained from this study is reducing air pollution levels, even a little, is most likely beneficial for everyone and especially persons who live in large cities. People who live in large metropolitan areas are exposed to more air pollution from industrial sources as well as automobile emissions and smog. Some ways to combat air pollution short of wearing a respirator every day is to have an air purification system with a HEPA filter in your home or office that runs continually. You can also take steps to detoxify your body with products such as Air Pollution from Liddell’s Detox line which is a natural oral spray to detoxify the lungs from inhaled indoor and outdoor pollutants.