One Dangerous Reason You May Want To Think Twice Before Going On A Cruise

When taking a cruise, one of the most appealing aspects of the experience can be grabbing a deck chair in the sun, catching some rays, reading your book, and taking a dip in the pool. The sound of the waves, the hot sunbeams, and cool breeze, and the open seas all around you can feel like some serious self-care and much needed R & R. However, have you ever considered that maybe the deck of the ocean liner might actually be seriously harming your health? It turns out that the air quality on deck might actually be worse than the world's most polluted cities like Santiago, Chile or Beijing, China.

CNN reported on an undercover study released by John Hopkins University on the air quality and air pollution on deck for four Carnival Cruise liners for two years, without the staff or company knowing about it. The outlet reports that the ship's exhaust was found to contain ultrafine particulate matter, and while Beijing has about 30,000 particles per cubic centimeter, a Carnival cruise ship was more than 45,000. What does this mean for your health? Should you be rethinking your cruise around the world? Let's take a closer look.

Cruise air pollution can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions

Assistant professor Ryan Kennedy, author of the undercover study, wrote that cruise ship's exhaust contains toxic, cancer-inducing properties, and noted, "It's dangerous. It's not a healthy thing for us to be exposed to," per US News and World Report. The report noted that the ship's exhaust stacks most often are located at the ship's stern (aka the rear) where the massive sun deck, pool, and activity sports can be located. Kennedy told US News and World Report, "If I was there with my family, I would not want them to hang out in the stern of the ship." Dr. Frank S. Virant spoke with CNN and warned that these ultrafine particles in the exhaust could harm specifically "people with pre-existing respiratory disease (asthma, COPD) and/or cardiovascular disease, and especially while exercising." So if you're breathing deeply while playing on-deck shuffleboard, going for a jog, or swimming, those harmful toxins are getting in your lungs.

Air pollution caused by cruise liners isn't just something cruise passengers need to think about: the residents of cities where cruise ships dock are also finding serious health and even fatal consequences due to their proximity to the ship's exhaust. Forbes reports that every year approximately 50,000 Europeans die prematurely from shipping-based pollution, and for the British population, the number goes as high as 100,000. Business Insider reports that Carnival Cruise has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. So until that day dawns, maybe hold off on your Caribbean cruise if you enjoy breathing.