Effects of Pollution on Health

Effects of Pollution on Health

  • 23/09/2019

There may be many types of pollution in the environment around you that makes you susceptible to sickness. You can see pollutants taking the form of gas, solids as well as liquids, and may be explicitly present in your own home as well. It is crucial that you're aware of the effects that these harmful pollutants will have on your body, and it is equally important that you avoid highly polluted areas. Health professionals often advise patients to be aware of their surroundings, as consuming even a small amount of pollutants may be risky for your health. Effects of pollution include numerous health problems, including fatal illnesses. Both indoor and outdoor environments contain contaminants, with indoor pollutants ranging from mould, carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke, and outdoor pollutants that include sulfur monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrochloric acid. The easiest way for these harmful pollutants to enter the body is through pores on the skin, eyes, nose and mouth through the process of inhaling. No matter which way they enter your body, these pollutants still pose a significant threat to the well-being of your body and can range from mild sickness to long-term diseases that may be fatal. Given below are the different ways in which pollution affects each system in your body: 


Respiratory System

The respiratory system is composed of the bodily organs that function to aid in the inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide. Pollutants present in the air that are 2.5 micrometres or smaller, can easily be inhaled through the nose and taken deep into the lungs. The inhalation of these toxins may cause damage to the lungs, possibly irreversible, and might even circulate into your bloodstream. Existing medical conditions like asthma may take a turn for the worse in case an individual is accidentally exposed to sulfur monoxide. Air pollution worsens any form of infection in your body and makes you susceptible to several other infections. Pollutants will result in narrow airways, which will ultimately affect your airflow and increases the production of mucous. Your lungs will be unable to filter out bacteria and other viruses with increased exposure to air pollutants. Continuous exposure to these harmful pollutants may lead to asthma, chronic bronchitis, cancer and tissue damage. 


  • Asthma attacks
  • Infections
  • Decreased airflow
  • Excess mucus
  • Lung cancer


Circulatory System

The organs in the circulatory system include the heart, blood and blood vessels, and help in the effective transportation of blood throughout the body. Blood plays a significant role in circulating nutrients around the body, evacuating unwanted elements, regulating body temperature and maintain the immune response. When toxic pollutants enter the bloodstream by passing through the lungs, it can cause inflammation throughout the body, and the outcome can be devastating. This type of inflammation causes blood vessels to narrow in size, which ultimately alters and slows down blood flow. It can cause plaque to loosen in the circulatory system, or even create a blood clot which may be fatal to an individual as either of these can cause a heart attack. Benzene is a pollutant released from oil and gas production, which, in even small amounts, has contributed to has been blood cancer or leukaemia. 


  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Heart attacks
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Blood clots


Nervous System

The organs in the nervous system serve as the bodily controls, composed of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. When harmful pollutants enter the human body through pores or inhalation, it can cause severe abnormal nervous system responses, such as unnecessarily activating the immune system. There have been several cases of air pollution is linked to stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain and nervous disorders. 


Author :



Ananya Shetty is studying Physics in IIT Madras and is the co-founder of a startup called Quantica Computacao. She is a passionate entrepreneur, blogger and traveller who has also published a novel named A Fuse in Time The Vision of the Future

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