Climate and health care activists say no to Silvertown Tunnel February, 2022

A new report has revealed more evidence that air pollution causes dementia—and it’s the poorest that will be hit hardest. 

Various experimental studies have found that air pollution can damage the blood vessels in the brain. Dementia is an overarching term for a number of conditions that impact the way we think, learn and reason.

Now a government research group, the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, has compiled 70 studies. It found that it is “likely” that living in an area with high pollution levels puts people at greater risk of dementia.

One of the most compelling studies, conducted in 2016 in Canada, found a link between dementia and living by a busy road. It found those living by a busy road were 7 percent more likely to develop dementia than those that lived around 300 metres away from one. 

There is already evidence that air pollutants increase the risk of diseases that affect the heart. 

Breathing in toxic and polluted air can narrow blood vessels, resulting in a greater risk of heart attacks and other heart-related conditions. These diseases are also known to have an impact on the functioning of the brain. 

The report found, “There is evidence that air pollution, particularly particulate air pollution, increases the risk of cardiovascular, including cerebrovascular disease. These diseases are known to have adverse effects on cognitive function. 

It concluded, “It is, therefore, our view that there is likely to be a causal association between particulate air pollution and effects on cognitive function in older people.” 

Air pollution is a class issue. Areas with high levels of air pollution are almost always the poorest. 

Highly polluting projects such as the Silvertown Tunnel in east London and the Edmonton incinerator in north London are being built in some of the city’s most deprived areas. 

Climate chaos is feeding a health emergency.

A recent study predicted that the number of people living with dementia worldwide could triple by 2050. 

Protest and action is urgently needed to protect our planet and our health. 

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