Air pollutants can be detrimental to your health and the environment. And it is estimated that 9 out of 10 people breathe in some form of air pollution daily. With 90% of people breathing in low levels of pollution every day, it is no wonder that an estimated 7 million people die each year around the world. In this article, we will discuss the most common air pollutants and the impact that they have on your health.
Common Air Pollutants and How They Can Impact Your Health
There are common air pollutants that lurk around your daily life. These pollutants are primarily invisible, but they can impact you even if you are otherwise healthy. Below is a list of the most common air pollutants and the impacts that they can have.
1. Particulate Matter Pollutants
Particulate Matter (PM) is a term that identifies small liquid and solid particles that are in the air. Some of these particles can be seen such as dust and smoke but others are too tiny to see unless you are using an electron microscope. PM is so small that it can be inhaled through your mouth or nose, then getting into your lungs and even into your bloodstream. Pollen, mold spores, and pollution from vehicles are common particulates that can irritate your nasal passages and possibly cause other health issues. You may develop allergies from these types of air pollutants, and they can irritate your lungs. For many people, they can cause even more health problems and can make them feel sick at various times.
2. Ozone Pollutants
Ozone (O3) is a reactive gas that is natural as well as man-made. O3 absorbs UV light, which can cause skin cancer. However, if inhaled it can cause your lungs to function improperly and if you have a lung condition such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, it can exasperate your symptom.
3. Nitrogen Dioxide Pollution
Nitrogen Dioxide (N02) is a reactive gas that comes from the emissions of vehicles. It is a respiratory irritant and can be present in the air. It is important to note that N02 is a contributor to the creation of photochemical smog which can significantly impact health. When you breathe in Nitrogen Dioxide it can increase your chances of having respiratory issues as well as decrease immunities to lung-related infections. Individuals that have asthma have increased chances of more severe attacks as well.
4. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless and odorless. You will not even know that it is there, but it may make you drowsy and sick. You may suffer many adverse symptoms and it may be difficult for you to think or concentrate properly. CO can also cause you to have flu-like symptoms very quickly when you have been exposed to it. This is an extremely dangerous gas and can poison your body and even cause death. Make sure that you take the steps that you need to protect yourself such as having a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
5. Sulfur Dioxide
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is toxic and smells like burnt matches. This gas is both natural, such as from volcanic activity, and man made from the extraction of copper as a byproduct. If you breathe in SO2, it can irritate your airways, nose, and throat, and cause coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and wheezing. SO2 is extremely dangerous and can be toxic if inhaled. Also, it is corrosive on contact with your skin and can cause burns, blistering, and tissue death. If the liquid form has any contact with your eyes, it can cause damage or even cause blindness.
Who Do These Common Air Pollutants Affect?
Many people are affected by the common air pollutants identified above but especially those that are elderly, the young, and those with weakened immune systems. People that are normally healthy can also be affected by these air pollutants because these pollutants cause damage to a healthy body. People must be aware of these pollutants and protect themselves to lessen or eliminate the risks associated.
The Health Impact of Pollutants
Air pollutants can cause several problems with your health. You will find that you may have asthma, shortness of breath, or other types of health problems related to them. It is possible to develop allergies, headaches, lung conditions and there is a potential of death when there are higher levels of pollutants in the air. The health impacts from the pollutants can range from minimal to impacts such as sneezing or a runny nose to severe symptoms such as lung and respiratory issues or possibly death.
How to Limit Exposure to Air Pollutants
Reducing your exposure to air pollutants can be difficult however there are certain precautions that you can take.
- Try to avoid exposure to smoke, secondhand smoke, and just smoking in general.
- Be sure to check the air quality advisories daily before you leave our home.
- Studies suggest that exercise can help to reduce your susceptibility to pollution, and it can help to boost your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
- Participate in a rideshare program or consider public transportation, walking, or cycling to help reduce pollution emissions.
- Use quality air filters in your home and consider wearing a mask when you leave your home.
- Avoid, if possible, areas where there are high levels of pollution.
How to Protect Yourself
Wearing a Filti face mask or mask insert can help protect your health from the air pollutants that are present outside of your home. For the inside of your home, the Filti 9500 home air filter will help to protect you and your family. Both products are n95 equivalent and filter up to 95% of airborne particles at 0.3 microns.
When you take the steps to limit your exposure to air pollutants, you will see a definite difference in your health. You will be able to breathe better and you may have fewer health problems than you did before. Taking the steps towards better health also allows you to do more in your life both personal and professional. A Healthy body is a step in the right direction to a happy life! For more information on Filti products visit our website.