HOW DOES AIR POLLUTION AFFECT OUR MENTAL HEALTH?
According to Santé Publique France, pollution caused 40 000 deaths per year in France between 2016 and 2019. This is an improvement on 2007 and 2008, when the figure was close to 50 000.
While the consequences of air pollution on physical health are well known, it also seems to have a significant impact on our mental health.
Pollution directly affects the neural development of children, especially if the mother is exposed during the first months of pregnancy. Regular exposure to polluted air is thought to increase the risk of self-harm in children under 10 years old. In adults, it would lead to an increased risk of dementia and Parkinson's disease.
Regular inhalation of fine particles smaller than 2.5µm (PM2.5) has also been shown to increase the level of depression, bipolarity and even schizophrenia in adults. During pollution peaks, scientists also note an increase in suicide attempts.
Experts from Santé publique France explain the impact of pollution on the brain: "Fine particles can destroy the blood-brain barrier or enter the brain through the olfactory nerve", as well as through the part of the digestive tract that includes the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine, leading to imbalances that affect the central nervous system".
Nevertheless, Professor Franck Schürhoff, psychiatrist at Henri-Mondor Paris Hospital and professor at the University of Paris-Est Créteil, insists that pollution alone is not enough to trigger these neuropsychiatric pathologies, it only accelerates the disorders already present in some people.
To protect yourself during your urban travels, whether on foot, bicycle, scooter or two-wheeler, I recommend wearing a Frogmask anti-pollution mask, made in France and equipped with FFP2 filters.
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