News roundup: air pollution & mental health, wood burners and microplastics
Our monthly roundup of what’s been hitting the headlines over the last few weeks in the world of air and water pollution and purification.
Microplastics – how harmful are they?
Earlier this month nature.com reported that microplastics are now everywhere – but questioned how harmful they really are. Looking at their presence in the food chain and environment, experts are now looking at nanoplastics, which are smaller than one millimetre and may have the potential to enter cells or tissues.
Whilst studies are ongoing, what is clear is that microplastics are an existing and ongoing presence both in our food chain and even in our tap water. Read more here.
Coal & wet wood sales restricted
Some positive news at the start of May – BBC News announced that the sale of coal and wet wood would be restricted in England. Whilst wood burners and open fires are still legal, those who use them will need to source cleaner alternatives.
An extremely encouraging step when it comes to air pollution – certain types of wood, when burnt, contribute significantly to the levels of PM2.5 in the air, one of the most harmful culprits when it comes to poor air quality.
Air pollution and mental health
Whilst there was progress in terms of restricting wood and coal sales, new research reported by The Guardian suggested a link between traffic-related air pollution and rates of mental illness among under 18s.
Despite being a modest link, results suggested that young people and children exposed to nitrogen oxide air pollution may experience greater susceptibility to psychiatric illnesses by the time they reach young adulthood.
Read more on our thoughts on the links between child health and air pollution here.
From the above it is clear that there are many health benefits that may be derived from the use of domestic air filtration; much of the technology involved is already implemented in hospitals and medical care settings.
Considering the vast amount of evidence now available to support the aggravating and causal effect of air pollution on human health, the reduction of exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution is likely to be a key factor in tackling diseases in the future.