Authors of Can Clean Air Make You Happy? say exposure to nitrogen dioxide can be as damaging as big-hitting life events

The impact on wellbeing of exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a gas mostly produced in diesel fumes, is comparable to the toll from losing a undertaking, ending a relationship or the death of a partner, research suggests.

The study determined a significant and negative association between life satisfaction and high levels of the pollutant, which causes lung problems. These consequences were substantive and comparable to that provided of many big-hitting life events, according to the researchers behind Can Clean Air Make You Happy ?.

Sarah J Knight and Peter Howley of York University took life satisfaction data from the British Household Panel Survey and UK Household Longitudinal Survey and compared it with detailed air quality records from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Given that far more people are exposed to to nitrogen dioxide than suffer unemployment or aim a relationship, Knight and Howley suggest that the benefits to society from reducing such emissions would be substantive.

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