HomeAnswerNotificationsCustomize Feeds
Is air pollution responsible for childhood anxiety?

Perhaps, but my answer might not be in the way that you are thinking.  The reason I say this has to do with something that I was talking to my wife about a while ago.  As a school social worker, she has the task of working with a lot of kids that have trouble focusing or staying on task at school.  She also has to deal with students that have anxiety or other trauma related issues in their lives.  

I mention all of that as background for the actual point of this post.  She has noticed that kids will many times be okay in the morning, but by the afternoon they start to get agitated or have a harder time focusing.  I think a lot of people would say that is just kids being kids.  They just want to get home for the day and they are tired of being at school.  

While that may be the case for some of them, my wife has another theory that actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.  She has a strong feeling that many of the kids that exhibit those behaviors are actually suffering from nicotine withdrawal.  

Many of the parents in our district smoke and if you are a student at one of those houses you are probably exposed to the smoke in a second hand capacity all day.  We have students come to school reeking of cigarette smoke, so you know that the parents are smoking in their houses and in their cars.  Although we all know the dangers of second hand smoke that isn't something that they can be bothered with.  

The students are driven to school with a parent smoking in the car.  They get to school and they are fine because they got that nicotine fix in the morning.  By noon time in an environment where smoking is strictly prohibited they start to exhibit withdrawal behaviors.  This can be even more clear when you talk to the parent about the students behaviors and they are insistent the student doesn't act like that at home.  

Again, I don't think this is exactly what you were asking, but I think it is a different take on the question that people might find interesting.


Exposure to air pollution brings many complications of health issues including asthma and respiratory disease, increased risk of stroke, etc. It may further impact the metabolic and neurological development of children.

The central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to air pollution, may cause mental disorders, like anxiety or depression. Myo-inositol is a naturally-occurring metabolite mainly found in specialized brain cells known as glial cells, that assists with maintaining cell volume and fluid balance in the brain, and serves as a regulator for hormones and insulin in the body. Increases in myo-inositol levels correlate with an increased population of glial cells, which often occurs in states of inflammation.

Exposure to air pollution results in a significant increase of myo-inositol in the brain & that is also associated with more generalized anxiety symptom, as increased exposure to air pollution can trigger the brain's inflammatory response.