Air pollution has a history of going unnoticed or underestimated in its capacity to cause harm. However, a recent study by Teng Yang and colleagues published in JAMA Psychiatry brings attention to the potential danger of air pollutants as exposure becomes increasingly likely, especially for minority groups and low-income families.
“In this cohort study of 389,185 participants, estimated joint exposure to multiple air pollutants was associated with increased risk of depression and anxiety,” the authors write. “Air pollution is increasingly recognized as an important environmental risk factor for mental health. However, epidemiologic evidence on long-term exposure to low levels of air pollutants with incident depression and anxiety is still very limited.”