Impacts of Air Pollution on Human Health

Air pollution poses serious health risks to humans, impacting respiratory health, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being. Learn more about these effects and ways to protect yourself.

By Trisha
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Impacts of Air Pollution on Human Health

Impacts of Air Pollution on Human Health

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Air pollution is nothing to sniff at. For every thousand persons on the planet, 973 inhale toxins on a regular basis. Just 27 aren't. This indicates that you are most likely to inhale polluted air. Toxic air may be responsible for almost one-third of all deaths from lung cancer, strokes, and respiratory illnesses. In some cities, breathing outside is just as risky as smoking 25 cigarettes a day.


How unhealthy is unhealthy air? A wide range of impacts can fall under that term. The acute and cumulative impacts of air pollution claim the lives of about 10 million people annually in the world, and up to eight million of these deaths are directly related to particulate matter from the combustion of fossil fuels.

What is Air Pollution, and How Can It Cause Illness in Human Bodies?

The existence of one or more pollutants in the atmosphere, such as smoke, vapour, dust, gas, mist, fumes, odour, or stink, for long enough periods of time, is known as air pollution.


The respiratory system acts as the primary route of exposure to air pollution. Inhaling these pollutants damages lungs, heart, and brain among other organs. It eventually causes disease by inducing inflammation, oxidative stress, immunosuppression, and mutagenicity in the cells throughout body.

Important everyday occurrences that cause air pollution, includes:

  • Manufacturing
  • Industrial processes (such as mining)
  • Everyday vehicle exhaust
  • Agriculture & farming
  • Energy industries
  • Smoking
  • Construction

Impact of Air Pollution on Health

Although there are various ways that air pollution can harm people's health, one of the most important is that it contains unstable atoms known as free radicals. Free radicals have the ability to harm healthy cells, causing harm to the body and affecting your general well-being. Apart from the respiratory system, air pollution also has an impact on the heart and blood vessels, as well as the eyes, nose, and throat.



Air pollution can be a major trigger for people who have asthma. The tiny particles may harm the throat by getting into the airways and causing it to restrict.

Lung Disease

When exposed to high levels of air pollution, those who already have a lung ailment, such as COPD, may have an immediate onset of symptoms. Studies have indicated that lung diseases may develop as a result of prolonged exposure to low-quality air.


Cardiovascular Disease

The higher risk of heart disease is one important way that air pollution affects human health. According to research, air pollution "damages the inside of blood vessel walls, causing them to become narrower and harder." As a result, adverse effects might ensue, including increased cardiac strain, higher blood clot risk, and potentially irregular cardiac rhythms.

Skin Health


The impact that air pollution can have on human health is visible on the effects it has on skin. Pollution-derived free radicals have the potential to harm skin cells, particularly collagen. Apart from loose skin and black patches, this can result in early wrinkles.

Childhood & Pregnancy

Lungs and other body systems are still developing during pregnancy or childhood. At present, air pollution can have long-lasting implications on a person's health. During these stages, air pollution can cause premature birth, low birth weight, asthma, and wheezing.


Final thoughts

Air pollution can be harmful to human health as it may cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues. However, anyone can take action to reduce air pollution. Millions of people every day can make simple changes in their lives to reduce air pollution.

One approach to reduce air pollution is to take public transportation instead of driving a car or bike. Other approaches include not smoking cigarettes, recycling yard waste instead of burning it, and avoiding aerosol cans. Apart from individuals, governments should take proactive steps to reduce air pollution and ensure welfare of their citizens.

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