Air Pollution Can Be Bad For Your Gut Microbiome: CU Scientist

The Environmental Protection Agency – or EPA – has issued a final determination to downgrade air quality in the Denver Metro and Northern Front Range area to “severe” non-attainment for ground level ozone. The area was one of five nationwide downgraded from serious to severe status.

Members of the Colorado Communities for Climate Action – a coalition of local and county lawmakers – say the state’s Air Quality Control Commission isn’t doing nearly enough to turn the trend around.

The effects of poor air quality on cardio-respiratory health are well documented, but how particulate matter interacts with other organs of the body is less known. Recent studies show bad air may also affect the gut microbiome in people as young as infants.

One of the leading scientists studying the link between air quality and gut health is Tanya Alderete, assistant professor of Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder. She spoke with KGNU’s Shannon Young about her work to document how inhaled pollutants can affect the gut microbiome in various age groups – most recently in babies.

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