Long-term exposure to air pollutants has been linked with an increased risk of developing several autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases, according to two new studies.

Source: ANI News/Youtube

A study published this week in PLOS Global Public Health found that poor air quality increases the risk of developing two or more chronic diseases. The study looked at around 19,000 older adults’ survey results about their health over four years. They compared this to historical satellite data of PM2.5 levels in 125 Chinese cities going back 15 years.

They found that adults 45 years and older had higher cumulative exposure to PM2.5, and a higher amount was associated with a greater likelihood of developing multiple chronic diseases, high blood pressure, and lung disease.

A massive study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy looked at the health records of over 6 million Canadians. They found that long-term exposure to air pollutants was associated with a slightly increased risk of developing lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, and other autoimmune diseases.

Research has found that the number of autoimmune diseases is on the rise around the world. Autoimmune diseases affect the immune system and depending on the disease, immune cells can be mistaken as invaders and attacked throughout the body.

Now, these studies have found that inhaling air pollutants over time can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to several autoimmune diseases. Studies have found that air pollution can trigger flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis, which can even contribute to multiple sclerosis.

The researchers were concerned because Quebec generally has air pollution levels that are below the quality standards set by the Canadian government. This means that even low levels of air pollution can be harmful. Many other factors can increase an individual’s risk for an autoimmune disease, like genetics, unhealthy diets, and viral infections. However, air pollution is a huge problem.

Air pollution is an invisible killer and has been linked to so many diseases, including fatty liver disease, depression, and other mental health issues, and a study even found that nearly 6 million babies born prematurely in 2019 were likely linked to air pollution. Eating meat has been linked to a rise in air pollution, and factory farms are one of the biggest to blame for our dirty air. According to the WHO, an estimated 4.2 million people every year are killed from outdoor air pollution, and 99 percent of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO guideline limits, with low and middle-income areas disproportionately affected. Check out these eco-artists that are using their art to call attention to the massive problem of air pollution and sign the petition to demand federal clean-up of disproportionately affected polluted areas in the United States.

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