Air Pollution Affects Every Organ in the Body, Report Confirms


The Forum of International Respiratory Societies’ Environmental Committee published a review towards the end of 2018 that revealed the devastating effects of toxic air on human health. According to the review, it is considered a major environmental risk to health. Air pollution should be treated as a public health emergency.

Data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that over 90% of the world’s population is subjected to highly polluted outdoor air. Air pollution accounts for around 8.8 million premature deaths every year and has become more dangerous than smoking tobacco. 

Additionally, the review indicated that the effects of air pollution are felt all over the body – the heart, lungs, bladder, bones, liver, and even the skin. Toxic air may also cause dementia and diabetes. It can impact foetuses and fertility and may affect children’s health. 

All the damage that air pollution does to human health is a result of inflammation caused by pollutants. Ultrafine particles travel through the body via the bloodstream, which is why the impact is all over; every cell in the body is exposed to pollutants. 

Although there is already proof of the extent of damage pollution can subject the lungs and heart to, the effect of pollutants on other ailments and conditions is yet to be proven. The University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Dean Schraufnagel, head of the group that conducted the review, said that air pollution relatively affects all the organs of the body, but some information may not be available yet because additional research has to be done. 

WHO Director of Public and Environmental Health Dr. Maria Neira said that evidence is already available as there are currently over 70,000 scientific papers that prove toxic air’s devastating impact on human health. Future research is essential to further determine the impact of air pollution on other health issues, including autism and Parkinson’s disease.  

What specific health issues are linked to air pollution?

While around 49% of UK residents who are aware of the problem of air pollution believe its worst impact is asthma or aggravated asthma (for those who are already suffering from it), 46% think the development of asthma is also connected to toxic air. 

Approximately 44% of Brits consider issues such as reduced lung function development are an effect of exposure to toxic air. Additionally, 42% of the population believes toxic air causes bronchitis while 35% connect it to increased risk of lung cancer, 10% to dementia, and 12% to stroke. A small fraction of the British population, around 18%, also believes air pollution can cause poor brain development.

If one was to look at the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal, however, there is clearer proof of how air pollution can have detrimental effects on human health. 

The Dieselgate scandal

The diesel emissions scandal, more commonly known as the Dieselgate scandal, broke in September 2015 when the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, along with the California Resources Board, allegedly found defeat devices in Volkswagen diesel vehicles that were sold to American consumers. 

A defeat device or cheat device is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in regulatory testing. As soon as the test begins, the device artificially brings down emissions levels so it remains within the limits set by the WHO. As such, the device manipulates the test so the real emissions level is hidden.

However, when the vehicle is brought out and driven in real-world road conditions, the defeat device uncaps the emission levels of the vehicle and it emits nitrogen oxides (NOx) at levels that are multiple times over the safe and legal limits set by the EU and WHO.

The diesel emissions scandal soon spread through Europe, the UK, and other parts of the world. Several years later, Mercedes-Benz was implicated in the scam. Authorities alleged that they found defeat devices in several Mercedes diesel models. Other car manufacturers were also implicated, including BMW, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, and Peugeot.

What the affected diesel vehicles emit is called NOx or nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that has devastating impacts on the environment and on human health. 

NOx affects the environment as it forms acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone. Vegetation is significantly affected as plants and crops growth is stunted and become more susceptible to frost damage.

As mentioned earlier, the Dieselgate scandal is clear evidence of how air pollution can have devastating effects on human health. This is true as exposure to NOx has the following health impacts:

  • Breathing problems
  • Eye irritation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Asthma
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema 
  • Other respiratory issues

Exposure to excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide can result in increased risk to cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, asphyxiation, chronically reduced lung function, and premature death. 

Diesel emissions claim

Car owners like you who are affected by the Dieselgate scandal are encouraged to file for compensation against their manufacturer. You deserve to be compensated for the inconvenience the scandal caused you.

You may ask, how do I file my diesel claim?  

It’s simple, actually. Just get in touch with a panel of emissions solicitors, such as the ones at With their no-win-no-fee policy and vast experience at winning claims, you’re sure to increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Contact the panel of emissions experts now.

Agan Jarick
the authorAgan Jarick