SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – Clean air helps keep spirits high, according to a study by a Konkuk University research team that analyzed data from a 2013 regional health report of over 100,000 individuals who had lived in one area for a minimum five years.
Using cutoffs of 42.4 ㎍and 55㎍ to indicate low and high particulate matter (PM) density, the researchers found that occurrences of depression were 40 percent more frequent during times of high density. In addition, worsening quality of life, suicide and increased subjective stress levels occurred 38 percent, 24 percents and 20 percent more often, respectively.
The same positive correlation was found for carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
The study also found there to be a gender imbalance in regards to exposure to polluted air and poor mental health. Increases in the number of cases of mental health problems were 12 percent higher among men than women.
Research team leader Shin Jin-young said, “Until now, it’s been known that women and the elderly are vulnerable to deteriorating mental health from exposure to particulate matter, but this study has proven that the impact from exposure is greater on men than on women.”
South Korean skies are commonly invaded by airborne pollutants like particulate matter, much of it originating from China. Many Koreans purchase air purifiers to use at home and wear masks outdoors when air quality is particularly bad. The government has been making efforts to lower the concentration of industry-produced particles in the air by stepping up regulations on diesel car emissions.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)