Environmental Air Quality and Your Health
One thing that we don’t always think about as we go through each day is the quality of the air in the environment around us. Unless the air quality is extremely poor, we usually don’t worry about it or at least don’t pay attention to it. But there are many different things that contribute to poor environmental air quality and so awareness is the first step in ensuring you aren’t subjecting yourself or your family to unhealthful conditions.
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In Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding areas, the South Coast Air Quality Management Disctrict (AQMD) helps monitor what they consider to be “the smoggiest region of the U.S.“. Established under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the South Coast AQMD is responsible for reviewing and assessing environmental impact. They also strive to alert and educate people.
One example of how they have done that is through “air alerts”. For the past few months, as part of their Healthy Hearths Program the South Coast AQMD has had a voluntary “Check Before You Burn” program in place. Residents were able to check the map to see if a voluntary no-burn advisory was issued.
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Another example is by providing a number of resources geared towards educating and helping people deal with environmental air quality. They also put together a simple “Ten Things You Can Do to Help Clean the Air” pdf which further educates people on what they can do to make a difference. And of course they have a smartphone app.
Another great resource for information on environmental air quality and how it affects your health can be found on AirNow. You can also visit the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards or the EPA site for your state to further educate yourself.
We all know air quality can be hazardous to your health. It can impact breathing, respiratory functions, heart and lungs, eyesight and more. There are even reports that “Air pollution triggers more heart attacks than using cocaine and poses as high a risk of sparking a heart attack as alcohol, coffee and physical exertion.”
So, one of the key ways to get started along a more environmentally-friendly path is to get yourself educated. Without being educated on the importance of air quality and how it relates to your health, you may be contributing to poor air quality without even realizing what you are doing.
Even taking simple steps such as using more public transportation, cutting down on vehicle emissions, investing in alternative energies for your home or business, planting trees around your home or office, etc. can make a difference when it comes to air quality and your health.