Outdoor Air Quality need for outdoor air quality is one that still lurks in the shadows of many people. Although it’s possible to build a healthy lifestyle even if you live in a polluted city, there are so many people who continue to be skeptical about the potentially dangerous effects of poor outdoor air quality. The good news is that there are ways to improve your outdoor air quality without having to spend a fortune. There are also a few things you can do to help reduce the amount of pollution that enters your home.
People in many parts of the world are experiencing health problems linked to outdoor air pollution. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared outdoor air pollution a public health emergency. In the United States, approximately 300,000 deaths each year are attributed to outdoor air pollution, making it the largest environmental health risk. There are several ways that outdoor air pollution can harm people’s health: by causing respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and dementia; by increasing rates of childhood illnesses such as acute respiratory infection, ear infection and bronchitis; and by causing premature death.
The pollutants that cause outdoor air pollution come from a variety of sources including vehicles, industrial plants and agricultural practices. These pollutants can travel for miles through the atmosphere before reaching people’s homes. IN order to reduce exposure to these harmful pollutants, people need to reduce their reliance on cars and other motor vehicles. They also need to reduce the amount of waste they produce and try to recycle materials where possible. There are a number of ways that people can help protect themselves and their families from the health hazards of outdoor air pollution.
The Impact of Outdoor Air Quality on Public Health:
Asthma, COPD, and other respiratory diseases are on the rise in developed countries. This is likely due to outdoor air pollution, which can cause inflammation and aggravate existing conditions. Inhaling polluted air leads to increased rates of asthma symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, heart attacks, and stroke. Exposure to outdoor air pollution has also been linked with cognitive decline in adults and children.
The health impacts of outdoor air pollution vary depending on location. In some cases, exposure to particulate matter can increase the risk for developing chronic bronchitis or emphysema5. Meanwhile, ozone can worsen asthma symptoms6-8 and increase the risk for death from cardiovascular disease9-1.Governments have responded to the health hazards posed by outdoor air pollution by enacting regulations designed to reduce emissions from cars and factories. However, these measures may not be enough to protect people from the wide array of health risks posed by poor air quality12 14.
- Communities can take steps to improve their air quality by:
- Consuming less fresh produce and dairy products, which can be heavy contributors to pollution
- Unplugging electronics when not in use
- Avoiding burning wood or coal indoors
What Causes Poor Outdoor Air Quality?
Poor outdoor air quality can be caused by a variety of sources, including emissions from vehicles and industries, precipitation, windblown dust, and wildfires. Vehicle emissions: Vehicles produce harmful emissions that can damage the environment and cause poor air quality. Emissions from cars and trucks include smog particles, heavy metals, and other pollutants.
Industries: Industries produce pollutants that can also contribute to poor air quality. Examples of these pollutants include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
Precipitation: Rain and snowfall release large amounts of water vapor, which can form haze when it condenses on objects in the atmosphere. This type of haze is often referred to as smog. Windblown dust: Dust storms are common in areas with high winds. The wind scatters small particles across the landscape, which can lead to increased exposure to pollutants in the air.
What are the Symptoms of Poor Air Quality and How Did Our Modern Life Make it Worse:
Poor outdoor air quality has been on the rise in recent years, and it’s not just because of pollution from cars and factories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main sources of outdoor air pollutants are transportation, manufacturing, energy production, and agricultural activities. The effects of poor air quality can be serious, especially for people with respiratory problems. Exposure to outdoor air pollutants can increase your risk of asthma attacks, heart disease, stroke, and even death. One way that modern life has made outdoor air quality worse is by increasing the amount of emissions from vehicles and factories.
Transportation accounts for about one third of all domestic emissions of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Emissions from manufacturing also contribute significantly to air pollution levels. To address the problem of indoor air pollution – which often goes untreated many cities have started implementing measures to improve outdoor air quality as well. These include restricting vehicle access during peak hours, improving energy production practices, and investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
When the weather starts to warm up, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your family from outdoor air quality issues. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Keep windows closed during smog events.
- Avoid exercising outdoors when the air quality is poor.
- Protect your nose and throat by wearing a NIOSH certified respirator when outside working in high concentrations of pollution (smog, heavy metals).