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Is your football team playing badly? It may be air pollution. And what’s happening to plants?

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Football fans have thousands of reasons to justify the, at times, lackluster athletic performances of their idols. Apart, obviously, from “conspiracy theories” and referee plots, they range from the size and state of the pitch, the color of the t-shirts, the bouncing capacity of the ball, and other theories. A recent article published in The Guardian has introduced a new element: air pollution.  In fact, a group of German researchers has analyzed the correlations between air quality outside Bundesliga football pitches and player performance by counting successful passes and the conclusions are worrying.

Toxic substances, even below the threshold allowed by environmental regulations, are responsible for significant reductions in the parameters chosen.
It is by no means the first time that air pollution has been associated with a decrease in human physical (as well as cognitive) performance. For example, it has been assumed that if the daily average of ozone goes down by 10 ppb, farmer productivity increases by 5.5% (http://www.nber.org/papers/w17004). Remaining in the sport milieu, worries during the Beijing Olympic Games  (2008) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18512178), as well as during the London games (2012) (http://www.decodedscience.org/london-2012-olympics-could-air-quality-affect-athlete-performance/16274) were well-known, especially for the long-term competitive activities…
In The Garden - Camille Pissarro

In The Garden – Camille Pissarro

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