Air pollution is significantly damaging to mental health and wellbeing, according to researchers from the University of York.
Authors of ‘Can Clean Air Make You Happy?’ found the effect of high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can be similar to bereavement and divorce. They compared life satisfaction data with air quality records, finding a link between pollution and greater unhappiness.
Harvard researchers recently highlighted the importance of air quality in the health and decision-making ability of office workers and students. The latest study further illustrates the importance of the physical environment, as providing well ventilated spaces with minimal carbon dioxide or NO2 can significantly improve health, morale and productivity.
The University of York report said the negative effect of NO2 on life satisfaction is around half that of unemployment, and equivalent to “big hitting” life events such as widowhood and marital separation.
“Given that the effect of NO2 is, to some extent, experienced by everyone this suggests that the welfare gains to society from reductions in exposure to NO2 can be substantive," wrote Sarah J Wright and Dr Peter Howley.
Regular servicing of ventilation and air conditioning systems helps lower the risks of polluted air - contact the 361 Degrees team to learn how you can take steps to improve air quality.