Donna Farber, PhD, Columbia University Professor and Lead Author of the Study, stated that the immune cells of elderly adults had been taken from them. “choked with particulates and could not perform essential functions that help defend us against pathogens,” per New Atlas. These particulates were discovered in macrophages which control immune cells responsible for killing bacteria, viruses and dead cells. Columbia University). However, prolonged exposure to pollutant can cause them to lose their ability to fight pathogens and function normally.
Columbia University says that the findings of this study suggest that particulates from air pollution can build up in your lungs, weakening your immune system, and may even cause you to die. Farber said that while further research is needed to understand the effects of pollution on immune cells in the lungs, Farber believes that it will prove useful. “pollution undoubtedly plays a role in creating more dangerous respiratory infections in elderly individuals and is another reason to continue the work in improving air quality.”