The air we breathe isn’t necessarily front of mind, but maybe it should be. The oxygen we welcome into our bodies affects one of the most basic and vital processes in our systems: the capacity for our lungs to do their jobs effectively. Alarmingly, even if you can’t see, feel, or smell it, there are things happening around us every single day that threaten this essential process. Let’s dive into seven startling facts about air pollution and how you can breathe a little easier.
7 Shocking Facts About Air Pollution
Air pollution is a sometimes silent villain. Even when you don’t notice it, it’s there. Did you know these seven things?
1. The Air in Your Home is Dirtier than the Air Outside
Understandably, many of us think that we’re safer in the walls of our own homes. However, the opposite is actually true. Inside, the concentrations of certain pollutants are two to five times higher than they are outside. This is incredibly problematic, especially considering we spend about 90% of our time indoors.
2. Cooking is a Major Culprit of Indoor Air Pollution
You might spend a lot of time cooking because you love it, or perhaps you prioritize feeding your family wholesome, home-cooked meals. But did you know that if your home doesn’t have proper ventilation, your cooking appliances (like your gas stove) can be releasing dangerous chemicals into your home? This can include carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. The smoke released by these appliances is also problematic, as those particles can easily penetrate our lungs.
The result? Your lungs will have a harder time functioning properly, you might experience infections or heart problems, and you can become incredibly sick.
3. Air Pollution Kills
Air pollution isn’t only capable of making you sick — it can even be fatal. Research tells us that outdoor and indoor air pollution combined contribute to approximately seven million premature deaths every single year. While we can’t fully control the pollution outdoors, we do have a say in what happens inside our own homes. And since we spend so much time there, controlling the level of pollutants could literally be the difference between life and death.
4. Everyday Products and Items Might Be Polluting Your Home Even More
Volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs — they’re lurking in places and items you would never suspect. They might be in the paint on your walls, your cleaning products and deodorizers, furniture, beds, carpeting, rugs, and even your floors. Exposure to VOCs can lead to scary health effects like irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin; headaches; nausea; problems with coordination; fatigue; dizziness; and damage to the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system (CNS).
It doesn’t end there. That lavender candle you love so much? Well, if it’s made from paraffin wax, then it’s releasing toxic chemicals into your breathing air every time you light it.
Your air fresheners? They might contain phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors and can mess with your hormones.
5. Air Pollution (Both Indoor and Outdoor) Can Hurt Unborn Babies
If it’s dangerous for the mom, then it’s probably dangerous for the fetus. Research says that pregnant women exposed to air pollution are at risk of dangerous birth outcomes, like a higher infant mortality rate, lower birth weight, and issues with lung development.
It probably goes without saying, but these health problems can extend far past pregnancy and infancy and well into the baby’s life, long-term.
6. Lower-Income Areas Experience Even Worse Air Pollution
Discrimination is everywhere, and there’s no exception when it comes to air pollution. Poorer communities tend to experience higher concentrations of air pollution, compared to areas with stronger financial stability. Shockingly, sources of air pollution (like industrial plants) are more disproportionately located in lower-income communities.
Research has also shown that unemployed people and non-Hispanic black people experience elevated levels of air pollution.
The conversation around air pollution must include equal access to clean breathing air.
7. Children are Especially Vulnerable to Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution
Over 90% of the globe’s children breathe toxic air each and every day. This can stunt their brain development, motor development, lung functioning, and much more. They can develop asthma and other respiratory issues and could be at a higher risk of contracting pneumonia.
Their bodies simply aren’t able to withstand the damage that air pollution causes.
What’s the Solution to Indoor Air Pollution?
Can you avoid pollution 100%? No. But there are simple changes you can make to drastically improve the quality of the air you breathe.
- Opt for non-toxic cleaning products. But don’t simply fall for buzzwords like “non-toxic.” Look at the individual ingredients so you know exactly what you’re getting!
- Switch from paraffin wax candles to soy wax or beeswax. You can even make your own candles after a quick trip to your local craft store. All you need is wax, wicks (you can usually buy a bag of them), a jar, and oil to scent it.
- Maintain proper ventilation in your home. If you’re cooking with the stove or oven, crack a window. After bathing, leave the door/window open so that the moisture can escape and you avoid mold growth.
- Monitor the outdoor air quality. Use AirNow.gov to check what the air quality is like in your area. If it’s bad, keep the windows and doors to your home closed as much as possible. This is especially important if you live in an area prone to wildfires.
- Leave an air purifier running in high-traffic areas. This will help capture dust, hair, pollen, dander, and other airborne particles that can negatively affect your health.
The Sans air purifier keeps your breathing air clean with three layers of protection: a pre-filter, a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter, and an activated carbon filter. Finally, pulses of UV-C light work hard to ensure your air stays crystal clear. Sans will notify you when it’s time to change the filter so that the device can always run efficiently and optimally. Plus, it’s whisper-quiet, so you can leave it running all day if you want, and it’ll never disturb you.
Air pollution isn’t going away anytime soon. The good news is that you have a say in what happens inside your home. Protect yourself and your family by taking action to keep indoor air pollution to a minimum. Shop with Sans today.