Saturday January 25, 2020

Air Pollution Can Reduce Work Productivity: Study

The researchers, however, remain agnostic about the reasons that explain why productivity goes down when pollution goes up, the study noted

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Egypt, pollution, seeds
Air pollution can hamper work productivity. VOA

Besides affecting health, prolonged exposure to air pollution can also reduce employee’s productivity, finds a study.

The study showed that daily fluctuations in pollution did not immediately affect the productivity of workers.

However, a definite drop in output was witnessed when measured for more prolonged exposures of up to 30 days, the researchers said.

 In addition, working in a highly polluted setting for long periods of time could affect your mood or disposition to work.

“Our aim with this research was to broaden the understanding of air pollution in ways that have not been explored. We typically think that firms benefit from lax pollution regulations, by saving on emission control equipment and the like; here we document an adverse effect on the productivity of their work force,” said Alberto Salvo, Associate Professor from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Delhi. air pollution
A man rides his bicycle in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. VOA

For the study, published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the team gathered information from textile factories in China which involved interviewing managers before obtaining access to data.

They compared how many pieces of fabric each worker produced each day to measures of the concentration of particulate matter that the worker was exposed to over time.

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“We found that an increase in PM2.5, by 10 micrograms per cubic metre sustained over 25 days, reduces daily output by one per cent, harming firms and workers,” said Haoming Liu, Associate Professor of the varsity.

“The effects are subtle but highly significant,” said Liu.

The researchers, however, remain agnostic about the reasons that explain why productivity goes down when pollution goes up, the study noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Air Pollution, Stress Associated with Thought Problems in Kids: Researchers

Stress likely leads to wide-ranging changes in, for example, epigenetic expression, cortisol, inflammation, and brain structure and function

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Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
Delhi air quality continues to be 'very poor'. VOA

Parents, please take note. Researchers have revealed that kids with elevated exposure to early life stress in the home and increased prenatal exposure to air pollution exhibited heightened symptoms of attention and thought problems.

Early life stress is common in youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who also often live in areas with greater exposure to air pollution, according to the study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

“Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a neurotoxicant common in air pollution, seems to magnify or sustain the effects of early life social and economic stress on mental health in children,” said study first author David Pagliaccio from Columbia University in the US.

“Air pollutants are common in our environment, particularly in cities, and given socioeconomic inequities and environmental injustice, children growing up in disadvantaged circumstances are more likely to experience both life stress and exposure to neurotoxic chemicals,” said senior author Amy Margolis.

Air pollution has negative effects on physical health, and recent work has begun to also show the effects on mental health. Life stress, particularly in early life, is one of the best-known contributors to mental health problems.

This new study examined the combined effects of air pollution and early life stress on school-age children.

According to the researchers data were collected from the CCCEH Mothers and Newborns longitudinal birth cohort study in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, which includes many participants who self-identify as African American or Dominican.

Mothers wore an air monitoring backpack during the third trimester of pregnancy to measure exposure to air pollutants in their daily lives.

Stress
Stress is increasingly becoming a dreaded phenomenon. Lifetime Stock

When their children were 5 years old, mothers reported on stress in their lives, including neighbourhood quality, material hardship, intimate partner violence, perceived stress, lack of social support, and general distress levels.

Mothers then reported on their child’s psychiatric symptoms at ages 5, 7, 9 and 11.

The combined effect of air pollution and early life stress was seen across several measures of thought and attention problems/ADHD at the age 11.

The effects were also linked to PAH-DNA adducts–a dose-sensitive marker of air pollution exposure.

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The researchers said that PAH and early life stress may serve as a “double hit” on shared biological pathways connected to attention and thought problems.

Stress likely leads to wide-ranging changes in, for example, epigenetic expression, cortisol, inflammation, and brain structure and function.

The mechanism underlying the effects of PAH is still being interrogated; however, alterations in brain structure and function represent possible shared mechanistic pathways, the study said. (IANS)