New Study Shines Light on Link between Pollution and Dementia

Dementia is a global problem, one that is disabling and life-changing. In the UK, estimates place the number of people with dementia at around 900,000. Every year, there are over 200,000 new cases of dementia, with 60,000 linked to dirty air. This is according to a study published in 2018 in The Lancet.

Additionally, another research group recently came out with a statement that indicated how air pollution can significantly contribute to an increase in the risk of someone getting dementia. COMEAP or the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants has just recognised toxic air as a primary cause of brain damage. 

There are reportedly around 70 studies that look at how exposure to emissions can affect the brain. All these were reviewed and analysed before COMEAP posted their findings. Government authorities and experts also believe there is clear evidence that particulate air pollution makes a person more susceptible to diseases that can affect their cognitive function, particularly cardiovascular and cerebrovascular illnesses. Anyone exposed to air pollution can also develop a heart ailment. 

What air pollution can do to your body

According to the British Heart Foundation, when a person breathes in emissions, their blood vessels are affected and become susceptible to damage. When their blood vessels get harder and narrower, a person increases their risk for abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and blood clots. 

Damaged blood vessels diminish the body’s oxygen supply.

Road transport emissions can also lead to asthma regardless of how minimal the particles from the vehicles are. They can still be dangerous for one’s cognitive health.

Other possible effects on human health resulting from air pollution include asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory conditions. This is particularly true for particles for minute airborne pollution. 

Another type of air pollution is fine particulate matter, which has several health impacts as well. It raises the risk of stroke, coagulation inflammation, atherosclerosis, oxidative stress, and non-obstructive coronary artery disease, which can all increase the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Since particles are tiny – minute – they can easily penetrate the throat and lungs when breathed in. Once this happens, there is an automatic immune response that may lead to inflammation.

With all the health impacts that air pollution is linked to, it is no wonder that it is considered a public health emergency that affects people from different walks of life and of all ages. This is why campaigners and environmentalists are urging the government to come up with more definitive, tougher, and stricter emissions legal limits by at least October 2022. 

This will also help reduce PM2.5 levels. This is crucial as PM2.5 is considered the most dangerous of all forms of air pollution, specifically to human health.   

As more and more evidence linked to the devastating effects of air pollution on human health is coming out, more and more people, campaigners, and government authorities are gearing up for the road to zero-emissions.

How the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal is linked to air pollution

One of the factors that continue to affect air quality is nitrogen oxide emissions. NOx is released by diesel vehicles, such as the ones that Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and other popular carmakers equipped with cheat software.

Authorities in the US called on VW in September 2015 after they found defeat devices in diesel vehicles that were sold throughout the country, particularly in California. Not long after, authorities found the same cheat devices installed in several models of Mercedes-Benzes, first in the US, then in the UK and Europe. 

A defeat device is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in the lab for regulatory emissions testing. Once the vehicle is being tested, the device immediately reduces emissions levels to within the regulated limits that the World Health Organization set. Hence, the emissions are recorded as safe and legal.

However, when the vehicle is driven in real-world road conditions, it emits considerable amounts of nitrogen oxides, often multiple times higher than the WHO and EU limits.

Nitrogen oxides have dangerous effects on human health, including asthma, aggravated asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, chronically reduced lung function, breathing problems, increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, and premature death. 

Exposure to NOx can also trigger mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. As mentioned earlier, it can lead to dementia and other cognitive-related conditions. 

Car owners affected by the diesel emissions scandal can hold their carmakers responsible for the environmental, health, and financial stress they were subjected to. All one has to do is file an emissions claim against the manufacturer.

VW, Mercedes-Benz and all the other carmakers implicated in the scandal have been paying fines and compensation, and recalling affected vehicles for years. Many of them have also repeatedly faced class-action lawsuits or group litigation cases.

How can emissions solicitors help?

A panel of emissions solicitors can help you and other affected car owners start a Mercedes emissions claim. They know the ins and outs of the claims industry and are experts in bringing such cases to court.

To start your emissions claim process, visit the website so you can properly determine if you are eligible to file for a Dieselgate compensation claim.

Truett Jones

The author Truett Jones