New Study: Short-Term Exposure To NO2 In Air Pollution Linked To Depression

Short-term Exposure To Ambient Nitrogen Dioxide And Increased Hospitalization Burden For Depression In China: A Multicity Analysis, International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 25 September 2022

Evidence for the increased hospitalization burden, including admissions, expenditures and length of hospital stay (LOS) for depression attributable to ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is lacking. We investigated the associations between short-term exposure to ambient NO2 and attributable admissions, hospitalization expenditures and LOS for depression in 57 Chinese cities during 2013-2017 using a well-established two-stage time-series study approach. Short-term exposure to ambient NO2 was associated with significantly increased admissions, hospitalization expenditures and LOS for depression, and the attributable fractions were 6.87% (95% CI: 2.90%, 10.65%), 7.12% (3.01%, 11.04%) and 6.12% (2.59%, 9.50%) at lag02, respectively. The projected total attributable admissions, hospitalization expenditures and LOS for depression related to ambient NO2 at the national level were 23,335 (9,863, 36,181) admissions, 318.70 (134.43, 492.21) million CNY and 539.55 (227.99, 836.99) thousand days during the study period, respectively. Short-term exposure to ambient NO2 is associated with increased hospitalization burden for depression.

NO2 is nitrogen dioxide, one component of air pollution. From the EPA:

NO2 primarily gets in the air from the burning of fuel. NO2 forms from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment.

NO2 is already known to increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, contributive to the development of asthma, and damage the airways of anyone who breathes it (coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing). It contributes to the development of diabetes and heart disease. Now we have evidence that it affects the brain. It’s a strong oxidant.

This map shows concentrations of NO2 across the US at 5:00 am this morning. Los Angeles and the Northeast Corridor have particularly polluted air today, as they do often. Their levels are “greater than the maximum established for one year by the World Health Organization.”

You can check you own air by visiting, selecting “Air quality” on the right sidebar, then NO2 or other pollutant. Move around or zoom in to where you live.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s