I grew up in Los Angeles, California. Fortunately, I lived a couple of miles away from some of the nicer beaches in Southern California. What I mean by this is the the daily sea breezes would blow the smog back into Center City and away from the beaches. Since we had no air conditioning (didn’t need it because of where we lived), air pollutants getting into the house through open windows wasn’t much of a concern.
My nursing students recently asked me if I ever smoked. I told them I started at a very young age. I explained to them that when my brother and I were young, our parents placed us in the back of the car, rolled up all the windows, and my brother and I were exposed to second-hand smoke in increased doses!
Last year, CNN reported the top 20 most polluted cities in the world. Surprisingly, none of them were in the United States. Half of these most polluted cities were in India. China has now declared war on air pollution.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the following key facts on Ambient (outdoor) air quality can affect our health:
- Air pollution is a major environmental risk to our health
- If air pollution levels are reduced, countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and acute and chronic respiratory diseases (including asthma)
- Lower levels of air pollution means better long-term and short-term cardiovascular and respiratory health
- Outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012.
- In addition to outdoor air pollution, indoor smoke is a health risk for nearly 3 billion people who cook or heat their homes with biomass fuels or coal
What about indoor pollution?
According to WHO, 4.3 million people die annually from exposure to household air pollutants. The most common causes of death are from stroke (34%), ischemic heart disease like heart attacks (26%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (22%). In addition, 12% die from pneumonia and another 6% from lung cancer. More than 50% of pneumonia deaths in children younger than 5 years of age are linked to household air pollution. Harvard researchers have reported strong evidence that prenatal exposure to high air pollution double the chances that a child will develop autism.
According to the US EPA, some of the important pollutants found indoors include:
- Radon – a radioactive, colorless and odorless gas that seeps into basements naturally from the ground. This gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
- Environmental Tobacco Smoke – first-hand smoke is linked to heart disease and lung cancer. Smoke outdoors and don’t bring in the clothes you smoke in as this also carries in the over 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke. This also means those electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as they also add many chemicals to the air inside our homes.
- Household Products – Paints and cleaners contain solvents like benzene (causes leukemia), methylene chloride and perchloroethylene. These volatile organic chemicals have been shown to cause heath problems.
- Formaldehyde – found in inexpensive furniture products made from pressed wood products. This chemical is very dangerous and high exposures can lead to death.
- Lead – can be found in some older homes painted with lead-based paints. Today, it’s more common to be brought into the house on your shoes.
- Pesticides, Herbicides, etc. – These toxic chemicals can also be brought into your home from your shoes.
- Carpets – either new carpets (around 37 chemicals emitted into the house) or carpets that have recently been cleaned can be dangerous in the volatile organic chemicals they release.
Can we reduce or eliminate indoor pollution?
Summer, 2015 will see the release of a whole-house air purification system by ARIIX. The video below explains this new, revolutionary system that removes nearly 100% of the household pollutants and outdoor pollutants that come into the house. For more information or to be notified when this system will be available, fill out the form below.
Fill out the form below for more information
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