A new research published in the journal Psychiatry Research shows that kids who grow up in areas with high pollution levels are much more likely to develop depression by the time they turn eighteen. The research studied 284 children who lived in the top 25% most polluted areas at age 12 and found that they were three to four times more likely to have depression at 18, compared to those living in the 25% least polluted areas.
“High levels of air pollution are just not good for you, and particularly for your children, whether that be physical or mental health,” said Helen Fisher at Kings College London, who led the research. “It is sensible to try to avoid the areas with the highest levels of air pollution. We really should be pushing for local and national government to reduce those levels.”
The scientists said their findings are particularly significant because 75% of mental health problems begin in childhood or adolescence, when the brain is developing rapidly. The work also suggests a link between toxic air and antisocial behavior.