Small increases in air pollution linked to rise in depression, finds study

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Exclusive: Cutting pollution levels may help to reduce rates of mental health problems, say scientists

Small increases in people’s exposure to air pollution are linked to significant rises in depression and anxiety, according to the first such study of UK adults.

The researchers found that an incremental increase in nitrogen dioxide, largely produced by diesel vehicles, heightened the risk of common mental disorders by 39%. For tiny particle pollution, which comes from burning fuels, and brake and tyre dust, the risk rose by 18%.

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