The air we breathe could be changing our behaviour in ways we are only just beginning to understand.
In the future, police and crime prevention units may begin to monitor the levels of pollution in their cities, and deploy resources to the areas where pollution is heaviest on a given day.
This may sound like the plot of a science fiction movie, but recent findings suggest that this may well be a worthwhile practice.
Why? Emerging studies show that air pollution is linked to impaired judgement, mental health problems, poorer performance in school and most worryingly perhaps, higher levels of crime.
These findings are all the more alarming, given that more than half of the world’s population now live in urban environments – and more of us are travelling in congested areas than ever before. Staggeringly, the World Health Organization says nine out of 10 of us frequently breathe in dangerous levels of polluted air. (Learn about how nanoparticles in the air could be adding to the harm.)
Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people per year. But could we soon add murder figures into this too?