Ultrafine particles are small particles of less than 100nm in diameter. They are found in urban air and are considered a risk to human health. UFPs are mainly found in urban cities that have a large concentration of motor traffic. Microscopic chemicals and chemicals that come from vehicle tailpipes (Kumar, Morawska, & Birmili, 2014). The particles mostly harm people that spend the majority of the time outdoor or people that live next to roads. Modern trends in urbanization and development of road traffic are expected to increase people's exposure to UFPs. Studies on UPSs have been conducted individually in various cities but no evaluation of exposure is available. The analysis suggests that the particles are four times more present in Asian cities as opposed to European cities but the health repercussions are unknown. Cities around the world are struggling to manage air pollution and UFPs only adds to the huge pile of complex problems (Kumar, Morawska, & Birmili, 2014). UFPs are different to other particles due to their potential of lung deposition and translocation to different parts of the body. There some suggestions that may have greater health impacts compared to the large particles. Only Long-term exposure studies will be able to confirm these hypotheses, but no such studies are available. Because of their really small size compared to large-size ones, UFPs are measured in terms of particle number concentration (PNC). UFPs should not yet be considered a separate class of particulate matter or have emission standards (Kumar, Morawska, & Birmili, 2014). The research available on them is still yet insufficient and more studies need to be conducted before anything else is done. Studies have only been conducted in Asian and European cities that have a huge population in urban cities. Data on cities that are not urban is unavailable and data on the health impacts of UFSs is also still largely unavailable. The data available is not enough to establish emission standards.
Most people usually confuse correlation and causation. In theory, it is very easy to differentiate them. For instance, an action such as smoking can cause another such as lung cancer, or it can correlate with another like high alcohol consumption which is usually related to smoking (Weed & Parascandola, 2001). Actions are correlated when one action causes another. But the fact both of them occur does not necessarily mean that one was caused by another, even though it may appear to make sense. The majority of the studies are conducted to test correlation. Causation has been a mystery for philosophers and scientist for years. What it is and how can it be measured; can we identify the strength of the link between the cause and effect? Have been some of the questions that have been attempted to be answered. Causation is an important concept in epidemiology, however, there is no clear definition available on it (SASUSA, 2015). Hills criteria define the least number of conditions required to form a causal relationship among two items. The criteria were developed by Austin Hill Bradford between 1871-1991, as a method of identifying the relationship between a precise factor. Hill criteria are the foundation of modern epidemiological studies, which tries to identify scientifically acceptable casual links between possible disease agents and several diseases that may harm humankind. While the criteria were formed in medical science as a research tool, it is still useful in anthropology, sociology, and several social sciences (Weed & Parascandola, 2001). While it may be simple to say that agent A causes B, it is a different story to establish a statistically, meaningful valid link among two phenomena. Hills criteria provide an extra measure that can be used to evaluate theories and explanation suggested in social sciences.
Living in urban areas has many challenges, one of which is air pollution. New research suggests that persons living in urban areas have Nanomagnets on the brain (Price, 2016). The research suggests that majority of the magnetite found in the brain originates from industrial air pollution. And due to the fact that people with Alzheimer disease have high concentrations of magnetite, the findings raise alarm to new environmental risks for this and neurodegenerative diseases. Though other scientists warn that the relationship is speculative. Scientists have known for years that the mind has magnetic particles but the majority of them assumed it was formed naturally from iron used by the brain for normal function. About twenty-five years ago, a geophysics scientist named Joe Kirschvink found particles in the brain that were formed biologically. And provided evidence of their natural source (Price, 2016). The main problem is magnetite is very toxic, it disrupts the normal cellular contribution and function and assists in the developing of destructive free radicals; molecules that are unstable and can destroy other important ones. Previous studies have revealed a link between Alzheimer disease and a high number of brain magnetite. A team in the United Kingdom partnered with Mexican scientist and examined 37 bodies of people from Manchester and Mexico City. They found that biologically formed magnetite had a different shape compared to those found in the bodies. They also found other unexpected metals such as cobalt, nickel, and platinum that are not usually found in the brain. Further studies are required in order to establish methods that can be implemented to ensure that the public is protected from such harmful nanoparticles (Donaldson, Mills, Newby, MacNee, & Stone, 2007). Especially people with Alzheimer disease should be instructed on how to take full precaution in order to minimize the adverse effects of this harmful magnetite. Since the particles are invisible to the naked eyes and this kind of air pollution exposes everyone to it including the children, governments need to step up and tighten the regulation of industries.
Donaldson, K., Mills, N., Newby, D., MacNee, W., & Stone, V. (2007). Toxicology of Nanoparticles in Environmental Air Pollution. Nanotechnologies For The Life Sciences, 1(1), http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9783527610419.ntls0059/full. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9783527610419.ntls005
BIBLIOGRAPHY EPA. (2016, January 31). Air Pollution: Current and Future Challenges. Retrieved from Enviromental Protection Agency: https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview/air-pollution-current-and-future-challenges
Kumar, P., Morawska, L., & Birmili, W. (2014). Ultrafine particles in cities. Enviroment International, 66, 1-10.
Price, M. (2016, September 15). Industrial air pollution leaves magnetic waste in the brain. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from Science Mag: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/09/industrial-air-pollution-leaves-magnetic-waste-brain
SASUSA. (2015, August 15). SAS USA. Retrieved from Causation vs Correlation: http://www.senseaboutscienceusa.org/causation-vs-correlation/
Weed, D., & Parascandola, M. (2001, December). Causation in epidemiology. J Epidemiol Community Health, 55(12), 905-912.
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