No Part of the Body is Immune Once ingested into the bloodstream, pollution particles can cause systematic inflation as the body’s immune system mistakes them for bacteria. “Immune cells think a [pollution particle] is bacteria, go after it and try to kill it by releasing enzymes and acids. Those inflammatory proteins spread into the body, affecting the brain, the kidneys, the pancreas and so forth. In evolutionary terms, the body has evolved to defend itself against infections, not pollution,” said Shrufnagel. Toxic air is also responsible for damage to the reproductive organs and can reduce fertility and increase the risk of miscarriages. While Children are also especially vulnerable to air pollution, which can lead to leukaemia, childhood obesity and mental health problems. But research into the damages of air pollution is at its infancy and many doctors are unaware of the effects of toxic air. “Some [doctors] have no idea air pollution affects the organs they specialise in. But it affects their organs too and they had better pay attention,” said Shrufnagel. The problem is exacerbated by the fact many people now live in megacities where air quality is poor. “We are probably the first generation in history to be exposed to such a high level of pollution. People will say that in London or other places it was worse 100 years ago, but now we are talking about an incredible number of people exposed for a long time. We have megacities where all the citizens are breathing toxic air,” she said. “However, with all the tonnes of evidence we are collecting now, politicians will not be able to say we didn’t know,” said Dr. Neira.]]>

Edward Cowley