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Air Pollution Linked to Alzheimer's



There is an abundance of scientific literature explaining how air pollution exacerbates, and often causes, a host of medical problems such as asthma, heart disease and cancer. Increasingly now, studies are showing that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is also impacting our brains and is associated with rising rates of Alzheimer's disease and dementias. A recent study published in 2021 explains the mechanism of how PM2.5 leads to an elevation of beta-amyloid plaques, biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease and brain inflammation.

High levels of PM2.5 in the atmosphere are derived from pollutants emitted from industrialization, as well as from combustion and emission from chemicals or fires. Each year California is seeing a worsening wildfire season ("The Top 10 Stories of 2021," Dec. 30). At the same time, Alzheimer's disease has now risen to be the third leading cause of death in the state. 

Environmental degradation and dementia are two public health issues that have been getting worse and will have great consequences on our health, our society and our government. But perhaps there is a way to hinder two impending crises. Strictly regulating air quality can not only save our planet, but also our health. 

Rep. Jared Huffman is strongly championing for reducing greenhouse gases and fighting climate change to protect the health of his constituents. Hopefully, going forward efforts from him and others will be recognized as a priority by all. 

Noor Sheppard, Trinidad

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