Are you on the ‘Highway to Hell’? This common health problem is associated with residing close to the highways
Is everything about ‘living life on da fast lane’? It may seem like the ‘in’ thing with Eminem rapping about it and stuff, but in the literal sense, it might just turn out to be your ‘Highway to Hell’. Confused? Read on to find out more about this common health problem caused by simply living near a highway.
1 The infertility factor
A recent study conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, claims that women who live close to the highways are much more prone to becoming infertile than those who don’t live near the highways. Researchers traced around 36,000 women for around 10 years, recording the air pollution and the exhaust from the traffic to see if it was anywhere remotely related to their ability to bear children.
As a result, over 2,500 cases of infertility were reported. Statistics drawn from this study say that women who live near the highways (within 200 meters) have an increased 11% risk factor of being infertile than women who live further away from the highways.
Considering this situation as an individual woman, the threat isn’t that loomingly large. But, en masse, looking at the society as a whole, this health problem is definitely is a matter of concern as so many women are collectively exposed to air pollution every day.
Couples, who are battling infertility, must seriously consider moving away to a place where the air they breathe is of a much better quality. Relocating to a place where the air is much lesser contaminated is a significant step taken towards preventing adverse effects on fertility.
2 How air pollution and infertility are correlated?
The culprit behind rendering women infertile is something known as particulate matter. This is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke. And it’s not only women who are victims of particulate matter, even in men, air pollution has been linked to DNA damage, abnormal sperm morphology and even reduced sperm performance. It can take up to three whole months of exposure to harmful particles for the decrease in sperm quality to actually be noticeable. This is definitely not to be counted as a common health problem but can be really a serious problem for those wishing to expand their family.
In women, it’s not just fertility but, in a woman who has been exposed to contaminated air, it can result in low birth weight, intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, neonatal death, miscarriage etc.
3 Other adverse effects on our health
However critical and dangerous our school textbooks portrayed air pollution to be, it’s around four to five times as serious. Not only infertility but inhaling toxic fumes from air is detrimental in all spheres of human health.
Respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis are rather common, but lung problems, heart diseases etc, can also be related to impure air and particulate matter. Particles in the air, given their tiny size, can pass through the cellular tissue and enter the lungs and the circulation system.
4 Curbing the threat
Given the current predicament of the rapidly increasing population, it is close to impossible for all of us to reside in nice, large, sprawling farmhouses that offer clean, purified air to breath. These common health problems related to infertility and a few other birth related health issues are quite alarming to hear of, although the risk is minimal.
The crunch for space forces some people to live in close proximity to the highways, which in turn takes a toll on their health. Couples trying to conceive are requested to invest some cash on an air purifier as a fertility aid. A cheaper option would be a face mask, but for how long can you wear a face mask?
Air pollution is too overwhelming to ‘curb’ if only individual efforts are put in and thus the scenario requires gargantuan effort to reduce it even if by a negligible amount.