There is an interesting study on pollution out of China. Normally, any study out of China would be a tad suspect, but this one only magnifies the costs of pollution choking Chinese and other citizens. Researchers found that pollution has a pronounced impact on reducing cognitive abilities. In other words, if lax pollution standards is dumb, pollution itself will actually make you dumber — making it more likely that you will allow more pollution in an environmental and intellectual downward spiral. With 90 percent of humanity breathing bad air, that is a truly frightening thought.Researchers in China discovered that high pollution levels led to significant drops in language and maths test scores. The impact was so great that the researchers found that it would amount to the loss of “years of education.” Moreover, the longer you are exposed to pollution, the longer lasting the impact on cognitive abilities.
The study also found evidence that pollution could increase the risk of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
We have often discussed how the full costs of pollution are rarely appreciated or even calculated. While greater pollution is often sold to the public in exchange for jobs, it is rarely put in terms of actual deaths or illnesses or other social and personal costs.