When people look for ways to improve their health, eating more vegetables and exercising are usually the first strategies that come to mind. Although these are great ways to improve ones life, the importance of clean air usually doesn’t get its due.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what exactly is in the air you breathe and beyond that what it’s doing to your body?
Take a moment to consider the molecules that exist between your eyes and the screen you are looking at. This invisible molecular cloud that is constantly entering your lungs contains both good and bad particles.
Wait… What’s the bad stuff?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tracks 6 key air pollutants within the ground level atmosphere:
- PARTICULATE MATTER – Essentially it’s solid and liquid air dirt. This has been found to be the most harmful to human health out of all of the pollutants tracked.
- OZONE – Ground level ozone results from chemical reactions with UVB light.
- LEAD – Yes this heavy metal gets in the air along in addition to your paint. It gets in the air from ore and metal processing.
- CARBON MONOXIDE – colourless, odourless gas resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon fuels.
- SULPHUR DIOXIDE – The largest source of SO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels by power plants and other industrial facilities.
- NITROGEN DIOXIDE – NO2 primarily gets in the air from the burning of fuel.
SO HOW EXACTLY DO THESE POLLUTANTS HARM THE HUMAN BODY?
5 Air Pollution Health Effects:
- Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – Particulate matter (PM) in air pollution is strongly associated with increased cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias, stroke, high blood pressure and thickening of plaque on arteries.
- Increased Risk of Lung Cancer – Particulate Matter (PM) is a human lung carcinogen (cancer causing agent) – higher levels of PM have been associated with increased incidence of lung cancer in the population.
- Aggravated Lung Symptoms – When exposed to ground ozone for 6 to 7 hours, scientific evidence show that healthy people’s lung function decreased and they suffered from respiratory inflammation.
- Higher exposure to air pollution has been found to aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms and worsen coughing and shortness of breath.
- Coughing and wheezing commonly occur with people living in a city.
- Premature Death – A comprehensive study found that older adults have an increased risk of dying after even short term exposure to elevated levels of air pollution.
- Damaging our Nerve Cells – Air pollution is associated with brain inflammation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. These harmful free radicals will damage our nerve cells leading to impairment in different brain functions. Remember, the brain is the motherboard so it controls everything in the body.
- Air pollution is associated with worsening of degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
I hope after reading these air pollution facts that you have come to understand that pollution can negatively impact multiple organ systems in the body including the cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological system.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Institutions such as the EPA advocate for policies with the government that will reduce pollutants in the air by regulating pollution producing industries such as power plants, the oil and gas industry and transportation.
Unless you are a lobbyist or policy maker, not much of that is in your control. So what can YOU do? If you would like to breathe easier while sitting in your home reading articles, then an air purifier would be a great option.
Our top pick air purifier for air particle pollution is the Winix 5500-2. This choice is based on its competitive price, spectacular reviews and its multiple filter systems installed within the unit.
To read the reviews and unit specs on amazon click here – Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Carbon Filter