Air Pollution and Your Health

Image by biofriendly

If you live in or around any major city you are more than likely having to deal with some form of air pollution on a daily basis. There are many sources of air pollution: vehicle emissions, manufacturing, factories, cigarettes, aerosol sprays, airplanes, wood burning or gas stoves/fireplace, just to name a few.

It is the major cities that tend to be weighed down by the heaviest pollution. Take for example, the volume of air pollution between a small town in the Pacific Northwest and a major city like Los Angeles or even Burbank, CA. The difference in air pollution can not only be seen, but it can be felt as well. The air is thicker, it is harder to breathe, even vision can be impaired.

Unfortunately for Los Angeles, in April 2010, included the city in their America’s Most Polluted Cities list with special note that the LA metro area was listed as “the country’s worst for ozone by the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2010 report“. Not a good sign for Los Angeles.

If you have never lived in a major city, or even if you have, the ALA’s chief medical officer made a good comparison when he stated that inhaling ozone is akin to “getting a sunburn on your airways“. Nobody wants that.

But before you decide you have to pack up and move, there are simple steps you can take to lower air pollution and the affect it has on you and your health:

1) Carpool whenever you can and/or use a proven fuel additive to lower your vehicle’s emissions.

1a) If you can, get a low emission vehicle such as a hybrid or electric vehicle.

1b) Take public transportation when and where it is available.

Image by prayitno

2) Turn off lights, electronics, etc when they are not in use. Unplug small appliances as well, as they often continue to suck small amounts of energy even when not in use.

3) Invest in alternative energy such as solar or wind power.

4) Re-use and recycle as much as you can. There is no reason to go out and buy more “things”. If you need something, see if you can find it used or even borrow it from someone else. It is also a great way to save money.

5) Plant trees around your home.

Image by j_silla

6) Use low-VOC paints when painting or touching up your home.

7) If you do have heavy pollution days in your area, do not over-exert yourself. It’s recommended for your health to stay indoors on days when air quality is poor.

If you are uncertain about the air quality in your area, you can check here.

Just remember that the things you do and the choices you make, affect not only you but those around you as well. So when it comes to your health and the help of your family, friends and neighbors, please keep that in mind. A simple choice can sometimes make a big difference.

What choices have you made recently that help lower air pollution?


  • nan

    Great points and excellent solutions, Tara!

  • Stephanie

    That first photo is pretty striking. 🙁 I’m with you that there are plenty of things that people can do on a daily basis that can make a big difference added up over time. A little bit of thought and planning can really help reduce your carbon footprint.


    Thanks for reminding us that the air we breathe is often not healthy even if we get used to it. In some parts of the country there are also heavy metals in the air and nitrogen oxides that are bad for you for different reasons.

  • Tony

    It is so true of the points you put up. It would do well to check the air pollution level of one’s area with the different websites that provide alerts on air pollution and take effective preventive measures. I liked the second photo that highlights the importance of clear air.


  • Rich M

    Another great post T – no surprise! Simple yet effective solutions that each of us can easily implement into our daily lives. We are now in the position where as you note, every small, seemingly insignificant action we take can actually make a difference. Go figure?
    Thanks for sharing.

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