London - Living by a busy road or in polluted cities can increase your risk of suffering from depression and suicide, scientists warn.
Researchers found that high levels of air pollution can cause "substantial harm" to people’s mental health.
In a review of studies analysing the effects of airborne pollutants known as particulates – microscopic soot from vehicle exhausts and fires – it was found that exposure to high levels of the smallest PM2.5 particles was linked to increased risk of depression, while a larger type known as coarse particulates, or PM10, raised the chances of suicide.
Particulates are already linked to physical health problems such as lung disease.
“We’ve shown that air pollution could be causing substantial harm to our mental health, making the case for cleaning up the air we breathe even more urgent,” said Isobel Braithwaite, at University College London (UCL), who led the research.