Filtering Out the Effects of Air Pollution

Filtering Out the Effects of Air Pollution

Despite longstanding concerns about air pollution, our understanding of its short- and long-term impact and the importance of clean air filtration technologies is changing rapidly.

In her thought-provoking article titled “How Air Pollution Is Doing More than Killing Us”, the BBC’s Melissa Hogenboom examines findings from a number of recent studies, tracing the recent evolution of our thinking on the subject. Research has linked elevated levels of air pollution to:

  • Poor test scores: Air pollution can directly impact the cognitive performance of students. In general, researchers have found that “on days where the air quality was cleanest, students performed better” and saw “a clear decline [of performance] on days that were more highly polluted”.
  • Rising crime rates: A 2018 study from Sefi Roth and team found that “more petty crimes occurred on the most polluted days, in both rich and poor areas” in London. There is also evidence to support that the highest crime rates are in cities with the highest levels of air pollution, controlling for population, employment levels, age, and gender.
  • Psychological changes and declining mental health: Air pollution impacts our psychological wellbeing . For instance, one study found that individuals exposed to air pollution became more anxious and self-focused and were more likely to cheat and exaggerate their performance.
  • Weight gain: Although this consequence is not fully verified, a 2015 article from the BBC explored the relationship between air pollution and weight gain and disease, concluding that the impacts of air pollution on mice included greater volumes of body fat. Furthermore, the mice exposed to air pollution became less sensitive to insulin.

These findings are particularly concerning when read within the context of data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which finds that 91% of people globally reside in areas with air pollution levels that exceed guideline limits. WHO also estimates that 4.2 million people die annually from exposure to ambient air pollution.

Efforts to Combat Air Pollution to Boost Filter Demand

As our understanding of the harm caused by air pollution continues to evolve, governments, international and nongovernmental organizations, companies, and consumers are expected to invest more in filtration products, while support for new air quality and motor vehicle and equipment emissions regulations will rise.

A more comprehensive understanding of the harm caused by air pollution will also spur the development of new filtration technologies, causing the importance of technological innovation to rise to the forefront and competition in the filter industry to intensify. Furthermore, with this body of research growing, more researchers will explore the links between water pollution and human health and behavior, boosting demand for water filtration products as well. 

Want to Learn More?

Growing global demand for filtration technologies represents a major opportunity for manufacturers. Due to the seriousness of the pollution problem, the global filter market has considerable growth potential and competition in the industry will intensify. The importance of research and development activities will also grow in the future.

These and many other topics are explored in The Freedonia Group’s Global Filters study, which examines past and projected filter market trends on both a geographic and product basis, in addition to including analysis of major market participants.

About the Author:

Gleb Mytko is an Industry Analyst at The Freedonia Group, where his work covers the global automotive, transportation, and machinery markets.