You know that pollution is harmful to your health, but did you know it’s terrible for learning, too?
A growing body of science points out the invisible but palpable effect polluted air can have on cognitive abilities.
Simply put, poor air quality affects your learning.
Grades and Exam Scores Improve with Indoor Air Filters in Classrooms
A number of studies reported in the Hechinger Report showed that poor indoor air quality not only reduced grades, but when air filters were installed, grades and exam scores improved.
Several studies carried out over the years and in different parts of the world, find an association between poorer test scores and greater exposure to polluted air.
Students who live or study close to highways are more likely to score poorly compared to students who live away from exposure to greenhouse gas emissions.
Some studies give us an even more in-depth look at this relationship.
They indicate how the same students who performed worse on a day with higher pollution, performed better on other days with cleaner air.
Poor Air Quality Can Damage the Brain’s Vascular Structures
Extended exposure to heavy pollution can, in fact, permanently damage the brain’s vascular structures.
For growing children and adolescents, this can lead to abnormal brain growth and negative neuroplasticity.
A neuropathologist, Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, grew alarmed to find the accumulation of toxic waste associated with Alzheimer’s in brain tissue of people as young as 11 months old.
She had been studying these samples as part of a study to determine environmental effects on neural development.
Indoor Air Quality versus Outdoor Air Quality
Increasing coverage of global warming and climate change probably give you a good picture of how good (or bad) outdoor air quality is.
Making conscious decisions like choosing environmentally-friendly transport and toning down the use of emissions-causing appliances is one way of combating overall pollution.
And don’t get me wrong; these efforts are vital – every environmentally conscious decision you make makes a difference.
However, unfortunately, you alone can’t reverse the damage done to the environment thanks to industrial, automotive, and other types of pollution.
What you have more control over, though, is your indoor air quality.
This is especially important because, in some cases, indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor air quality.
There are many sources of indoor air pollutants.
- Emissions from certain appliances
- Formaldehyde in furniture
- Nitrogen dioxide,
- Chemicals in cleaning products
- Airborne allergens
- Dirty HVAC systems
are all culprits responsible for poor IAQ.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many studies find that air quality in buildings like houses and schools can be worse than outdoor pollution.
More alarming still, IAQ can be worse than outdoor pollution in most industrial cities.
And most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors.
This is especially bad news for students who cycle between school and home, with kids and the elderly being the most susceptible to poor air quality.
Along with behavioral issues and feelings of sluggishness and an inability to focus, it is not difficult to see how this can negatively impact learning.
What Can You Do About Poor IAQ?
You might not be able to single-handedly undo the broader environmental damage caused by pollution.
(Though you should definitely play your part in reducing it.)
You can do something about poor indoor air quality, however.
Some people may be skeptical but air filters in schools have been shown to improve grades. skeptical about the effect of wide scale adoption of air conditioners and air filters to clean out the air in schools.
(Which, ironically, use up more pollution-causing electricity).
Nonetheless, there is some merit to using air filters, that I can vouch for personally, depending on the right choice.
My Air Filter of Choice, Tried and Tested
As a learning expert, I am all about for investigating and testing out the best ways to improve learning.
After doing my research, I settled on what I believe to be the best product on the market.
One of TIME’s 25 best inventions in 2017 and the Consumer Goods 2020 winner, the Molekule Air Purifier.
I tend to have allergies to mold, mildew and dust mites, and because I’m indoors quite a bit as an author, one thing I noticed straight away after installing the Molekule that I was no longer coughing or sniffling.
The difference was so immediate and huge that I realized the poorer air quality had been keeping me up at night and disrupting my sleep.
Currently, I’m visiting my sister in Texas and Houston is ranked, by the American Lung Association as one of the top 10 worst air quality areas in the country. Indoor air quality is worsened of course because no one opens their windows here, thus not letting in the bad air from the outside, so the indoor air quality is worsened even more.
The humidity, ozone problems and numerous chemical spills and fires in this area, were seriously impacting health and my productivity as well as my sleep.
Poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep is another contributor to poor learning, since the brain needs to sleep to consolidate what you learned into your long-term memories!
So,another good thing I noticed is that by keeping the Molekule in my home office is that I experienced far less brain fog by the indoor polluted air.
I was more focused and clearheaded than I had been before I started using the device!
It impressed me how even if you don’t realize it, the quality of the air you breathe can have so many intangible effects on how you feel and how your brain works. Which has an overall impact on your productivity when learning!
Looking into it further, I realized one reason why the Molekule works better than the air conditioners and filters I’ve used because it doesn’t just filter the air.
It breaks down pollutants and free radicals – which are responsible for making you feel sluggish, lethargic, irritable, and frequently sniffling – on a molecular level.
In fact, the device claims to be capable of breaking down pollutants 1000 times smaller than what the HEPA technology of your air conditioners can!
Now, while I can’t scientifically test this out for you.
I can, however, personally attest to how using Molekule has improved my general well-being as well as my learning and work focus, much better than other options.
Sound Too Good to Be True?
You might be skeptical of such a glowing review – I know I was when I was researching the product myself, and I don’t blame you.
But why don’t you try it out yourself?
Molekule offers a 30-day free trial, and if you’re not happy with the results, there is a 100% money-back guarantee! (And P.S. I am not an affiliate for Molekule – they provided me a unit to test out as it relates to learning).
Considering the terrible long-term effects of exposing yourself to polluted air, it definitely is worth a shot.
Especially for kids who don’t yet have fully developed immune systems.
And not just for their learning, but their overall health, too!
Did this article get you thinking about the air quality in your home or your child’s school?
And most importantly, do you know what to do about it for the better health and learning of your family?
Talk to me in the comments below!
Pat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. For over 30 years she’s taught people how to learn faster, including people in corporations like Microsoft and Raychem, medical students and staff; teachers, parents and students of all ages.
She gives the Career 2.0 and Learning 2.0 Brain Advantage Learning Assessments to clients in countries worldwide to help them identify their strengths and any areas they choose to improve to achieve their goals. These two assessments are the most unique in the industry!
Wyman is a mom, golden retriever lover and the author of more than 15 best-selling books including, Amazing Grades, Smarter Squared and The One-Minute Gratitude Journal: For the Moments That Matter.
Her mission is ensuring that you become a successful, life-long learner. You are invited to take the FREE Learning Styles Quiz at HowtoLearn.com. Check out her course, How to Learn Anything 100% Faster!