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Air pollution can contaminate your morality too: Research

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Health Desk: 09 February 2018: Researchers have warned air pollution not only affects your health but may also lead to unethical behaviour such as crime and cheating.

A combination of archival and experimental studies indicated that exposure to air pollution, either physically or mentally, is linked with unethical behaviour.

The experimental findings suggest that this association may be due to increased anxiety.

“This research reveals that air pollution may have the potential ethical costs that go beyond its well-known toll on health and the environment,” said lead author of the study, Jackson G. Lu of Columbia Business School.

“Our findings suggest that air pollution not only corrupts people’s health, but can also contaminate their morality,” Lu added.

For the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers examined air pollution and crime data for 9,360 US cities collected over a nine-year period.

According to the researchers, previous studies have indicated that exposure to air pollution elevates individuals’ feelings of anxiety. Anxiety is known to correlate with a range of unethical behaviour.