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How to Reduce the Harmful Effects of Air Pollution on Your Health

What is pollution?

Pollution is defined as anything that is introduced into the environment by humans that damages human health or ecosystems. There are different types of pollutions and they all affect human health. Air pollution, water pollution and soil pollution. These forms of pollution happen by the use of heavy metals, chemicals, gasses, germs, and even noise.

The combustion of fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil), as well as wildfires, contribute to outdoor air pollution. These produce toxic fumes, smog (due to ground-level ozone), and soot (fine particles) that are dangerous to inhale. Fireplaces and home cookstoves that utilize gas, coal, or biomass fuels like wood or agricultural waste, which are sometimes used in low-income countries, are among the sources of indoor air pollution.

Since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, air pollution in the United States has significantly decreased. However, certain air pollutant levels have risen in recent years, and air pollution continues to have severe national and global health impacts.

Different studies over the years have frequently repeatedly shown that increased outdoor air levels of fine particulate matter correspond to increased hospitalizations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia and other severe health issues. Whether it is a long term exposure or short-term exposure, they are all effective.

What is the impact of air pollution on your health?

This year, a study looked at worldwide models of pollution levels and risk assessments of the global population over the course of 14 years. It links fossil fuel consumption to over nine million premature deaths worldwide in 2018 — one in every five fatalities — with over 350,000 deaths in the United States. Heart attacks and strokes account for the majority of these fatalities.

Who is most sensitive to air pollutions?

  Anyone who is aged, young, or pregnant, as well as those who have underlying illnesses like heart or lung disease. People residing in low-income communities, which are frequently located near industrial sites or high-traffic regions, are also disproportionately affected.

What can you do to help reduce pollution's negative effects?

Use the air quality index (AQI) as a guide. 

AQI was created by the EPA to assess air quality. At AirNow, you can track the air in your location. Avoid outdoor activities, especially near populated places when the AQI is in harmful zones. When it's hot outside, stay inside and close the windows, while using air conditioners and fans. Alternatively, use a mask while going outside: fabric masks and surgical masks may help to prevent inhalation of large particles, but only specific masks, such as N95s, will filter tiny particles. It's also a good idea to change your clothes at the door and put them into the laundry basket immediately to avoid spreading germs in your house.

Replace your gas stove.
When it's time to replace your stove, go for induction or electric model rather than a gas model. Induction cooktops not only reduce indoor pollution but also save electricity.

Use air purifiers 
They can enhance indoor air quality, even if they don't remove all contaminants. Get an air purifier with a high clean air delivery rate (CADR) that is appropriate for the size of your house.

Transportation should be considered 
Buy locally-made products because global shipping and transportation contribute to air and water pollution. 

Regularly replace the filters in your air conditioner and air purifier because this will enhance the quality of the air you breath and save you money.

Encourage the use of clean, renewable energy
Taking steps to reduce fossil fuel use has the double benefit of combating climate change and air pollution, Voting for leaders who prioritize renewable energy, ultimately working toward a sustainable future with a healthier planet and a healthier you. 

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Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.

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