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Investigation Shed Light on Link Between Air Pollution/Mental Health & Now EHN Calling for Action

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Last year, two local news organizations teamed up to publish an explosive series that explored the mental health impacts of air and water pollution in western Pennsylvania and sounded the alarm about the increasing evidence that residents in the region are likely suffering changes to their brains because of their environment.

The reporting also uncovered the growing gap in mental health care as more people are traumatized by worsening climate change.

You can – and should – check those stories out here.

We also highly recommend you check out a panel discussion GASP hosted with the series authors, Julie Grant of The Allegheny Front and Kristina Marusic of Environmental Health News:

This week, Environmental Health News published an absolute must-read editorial calling for action. You can read the entire opinion piece here, but we were particularly struck by its ending:

It is time we give the same focus to the environmental causes of mental illness.

Recognizing preventable causes of mental illness is an urgent issue. Roughly one in five U.S. adults and one in six U.S. children experience mental illness each year. And 50% of mental illness begins by age 14.

We hope our reporting continues to be a wake-up call for those who fund and conduct research on mental illness, as well as for policymakers in charge of regulating toxic chemicals.

No child—or adult—should suffer mental illness due to pollution. Our brains are complex, beautiful, and fragile. Let’s work to understand how we can best protect this gift.

“GASP echoes the concerns that are so succinctly laid out in the editorial,” our Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “We pledge to do all we can to champion this issue and join EHN in calling on scientists, health organizations, funding agencies, and fellow environmental groups to draw brighter lines between pollution and mental well-being.”

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