Recent Medical Study Links Airborne Particulate Exposure to Dementia

  • By Air Care Wizard
  • Posted April 28, 2017

ACHR News recently published a brief write up on a medical study that was performed recently to study the interaction between airborne particulate exposure and neuro-cognitive functioning.  The results of the study were pretty interesting.  We'll include some of the original article here:



According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), IAQ is a more serious health concern than outdoor pollution. Since many individuals spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, their health is impacted by the long-term exposure to poor IAQ. The body of evidence concerning air quality and its effects on health continues to grow.

In a recent medical study published in Translational Psychiatry, researchers found a connection between airborne soot and dementia. In this nationwide study, over 3,600 women between 65 and 79 were studied. They concluded that, for individuals who live in locations with fine particulate matter that exceeds the EPA’s standards, the hazard for global cognitive decline increased by at least 85 percent and all-cause dementia increased by at least 68 percent. While this study does not show a direct cause and effect, there is at least a correlation between poor IAQ and cognitive problems."


While the results are compelling, the limitations of the study should not be overlooked.  The original study, which can be found HERE, states that "First, this study of older women may not be generalized to men. Second, our study examined the association with PM2.5 mass, but had no information on particle constituents, emission sources, or interactions with other pollutants. Although research on cardiopulmonary end points is beginning to include these complexities of PM exposures, such data are both costly and limited for nationwide cohorts. Third, the employed spatiotemporal models only allowed estimates of late-life exposure to PM2.5 after 1999. As air pollution levels have been declining over the past 20 years, long-term exposure, especially during mid- or earlier life, may impart a greater risk."

There are some substantial limitations as we are unable to point to specific particles or emission sources to quantify their effect on dementia.  That said, we can see that exposure to airborne particulate certainly has a detrimental effect on the sample selected for this study.  The study warrants further research into the growing field of indoor air quality and how we can provide safer indoor environments for ourselves and our families.  In 2017, we have a number of services and products available to aid homeowner in reducing the levels of airborne particulate in their households, whether it be duct cleaning and sanitizing or high-quality electronic air cleaners. 

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