New Delhi, November 28- Air Pollution is rapidly turning into a global catastrophe. According to a study, about 9 million people die every year after exposing themselves to toxic pollutants.
This death rate is thrice the number of deaths which are caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together.
Pollution is also a major cause of developmental disabilities: By causing injuries that impair children’s health, diminish their capacity to learn, pollution could potentially hamper developmental abilities in children.
What are Neurotoxic Pollutants?
There are some chemicals which are able to silently damage the developing brains if children. They are known us neurotoxic pollutants.
One example of such a pollutant is lead. Others are organophosphate pesticides, mercury, brominated flame retardants, and the plastics chemicals – phthalates and bisphenol A.
It is reported that early life exposure to such pollutants could cause learning disabilities in children. Other disorders which such pollutants could aid in causin are Autism, ADHD and conduct disorders.
Speaking to Healthwire, Dr. Ankur Sachdeva, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, said, “It pre-disposes you to learning difficulties. It could impair concentration and memory. It happens when we breathe the pollutants in the air, it could enter our brain through our blood stream and reaches to the brain. Medically, we call it oxidative damage. The brain is damaged in such a way that the connection between two brain cells is broken. So, let’s put it in a way that the two brain cells cannot talk to each other or relay any messages or electrical impulses to one another. Now this is how exactly memory is formed, when the information is transferred from one neuron to the other and it is consolidated in a certain part of the brain. So what pollution does it that it breaks these channels and interferes in the function of the brain by creating oxidative stress and damaging cells.
There are also some dangerous pollutants like nitrogen oxide, titanium and heavy metals like magnetite which are inhaled and they go directly to the brain. Since the brain is already developing in children, the process of impeding learning is enhanced. If this happens to adults, then it causes degenerative neurons which are already formed in them. But in children who are highly exposed to pollution, since the brain connections or the neurons are still being formed these metallic and non-metallic pollutants prevent the growth of such neurons at the first place. Hence, learning is impaired and memory related problems may also arise leading to poor performance of children in their tests and exams or difficulty in performing other tasks requiring concentration.”