The Impact Of Air Pollution On Health
Air pollution is reported to cause approximately 200,000 premature deaths in the US every year. Even though US restrictions such as the Clean Air Act, have helped to reduce air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, lead and nitrogen dioxide, indoor air pollution is still present. It can also impact health by damaging the lungs, making bronchitis more severe and it may intensify the symptoms of asthma or allergies. The good news is that there are ways to fight against air pollution and you don’t need to be anxious about your intake air as there are some simple, yet effective lifestyle changes you can make.
Why is clean air so important?
The American Lung Association reports that poor air quality can increase the risk of premature death, strokes, heart attacks, asthma attacks, lung cancer and the risk of lung infections. In addition, one study found that hospital admissions for heart failure increased for those who experienced short term exposure to air pollutants. In Europe air pollutants are reported to be a risk factor for developing lung cancer, proving the importance of clean, unpolluted air.
How can you help yourself
Indoor air pollution exists in the form of toxic gases or particles that may adversely affect health, and because we spend so much time indoors the exposure can be high. There are ways though that you can fight against indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and organic chemicals which can cause headaches, nausea, irritation to the ears, nose and throat, damage to the liver, nerve and brain damage especially in children and persons at cancer risk, in addition to other health issues.
It’s important to use cleaners that are environmentally friendly, paints that are solvent free or water-based, and ensure all household cleaners are sealed after use to avoid damaging compounds from evaporating in the air. Keeping indoors smoke free is also essential and carbon monoxide emissions can be reduced by avoiding gas stoves.
Consider home heating
It’s also important to consider the way you heat your home as this will also affect air pollution, as coal and other mineral solid fuels usually produce higher emissions of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide than a natural-gas fired system. Evidence shows that short and long-term exposure to coal smoke and wood smoke can be detrimental to health as they may cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems and contain cancer causing components. You can help by installing a mechanical ventilation system or an indoor fountain, which are an effective way to humidify and purify the air indoors by removing dust particles and allergens in the air. They may also ease sinuses, prevent dry skin and reduce the risk of infections.
Air pollution across many countries is reducing, but it still exists and it’s important for us all to make some basic changes to help to reduce it further. Poor quality air indoors can lead to poor health or exacerbate existing health conditions. Children and older people are particularly at risk, so embracing ways to conserve energy, go smoke free and even washing clothes in cold water rather than hot water, can all contribute to reducing indoor air pollution and enhances good health.