The researchers leveraged an unparalleled amount of data compared to any previous study of air pollution and neurological disorders.
"Our study builds on the small but emerging evidence base indicating that long-term PM2.5 exposures are linked to an increased risk of neurological health deterioration, even at PM2.5 concentrations well below the current national standards," said study author Xiao Wu from the Harvard University in the US.
During the study, the research team looked at 17 years' worth (2000-2016) of hospital admissions data from 63,038,019 Medicare recipients in the US and linked these with estimated PM2.5 concentrations by zip code.
Taking into account potential confounding factors like socioeconomic status, they found that, for every five micrograms per cubic metre of air (ig/m3) increase in annual PM2.5 concentrations, there was a 13 per cent increased risk for first-time hospital admissions both for Parkinson's disease and for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
This risk remained elevated even below supposedly safe levels of PM2.5 exposure, which, according to current US Environmental Protection Agency standards, is an annual average of 12 ig/m3 or less.
Women, white people, and urban populations were particularly susceptible, the study found.
"Our study shows that the current standards are not protecting the ageing American population enough, highlighting the need for stricter standards and policies that help further reduce PM2.5 concentrations and improve air quality overall," the authors wrote.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.