Air pollution can pose mental health risk – Environmentalist cautions

Mr Muntaka Chasant, a Social Entrepreneur and Environmentalist, has cautioned that air pollution, apart from causing asthma, lung cancer and heart diseases, can pose risks to mental health.

He expressed worry over the lack of adequate awareness on the link between air pollution and mental health in the country.

Mr Chasant, who issued the warning at an Environmental Protection Campaign at James Town, in Accra, said the link between air pollution and dementia remained controversial and there was the need for research on the topic to establish the facts.

“Despite the prevalence of dementia in Ghana and Africa in general, there is insufficient studies on the illness, no protection of the rights of sufferers, and no proper healthcare intervention nor initiatives to educate the public on how to tackle the problem,” he said.

Mr Chasant stated that studies from around the world, new findings from human brain imaging studies, and sophisticated techniques for modeling PM2.5 exposures (a particular pollutant with strong negative impaction on human health), were enough for the authorities in Ghana to consider air pollution as mental health problem.

He quoted Caleb Finch of the University of Southern California, as saying that:  “Pollutant particles might make their way to the brain and damage it directly, or they might attack it from a distance, by triggering the release of inflammatory molecules.”

“I think air pollution will turn out to be just the same as tobacco – there’s no safe threshold.”

Source: GNA

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