5 Ways to Limit the Negative Health Effects of Air Pollution in Your Everyday Life
Recently, the UN released an alarming study addressing the extreme dangers our planet is facing, because of pollution. You cannot turn on the news without seeing headlines like “Air Pollution Linked to Alzheimer’s” or “Air Pollution Increasing Asthma Deaths.” Air Pollution is now a leading cause of death in most parts of the world, and governments are scrambling to find ways to curb then amount of pollution produced. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals like Nitrogen Oxides, Ammonia, Methane, Hydrogen Sulfide, and Sulfur Monoxide are you just a few of the dangerous gases and particles found in the atmosphere, that we are breathing in, daily.
Pollution control equipment and government initiatives/regulations will hopefully lessen the amount of pollution being released into the atmosphere, but there are a few things you can do in your everyday life to reduce the immediate negative effects on your health.
Air pollution has long been linked with cardiovascular health issues, and cardio related deaths. A recent study found that certain diets reduce these negative effects and risk of death, significantly. The study stated “These pollutants increase oxidation in the body and if you have antioxidants – things like vitamin C, and the other vitamins found in fruit and vegetables – on board they can help neutralise it,” This study also found that the areas of the country (US) with the poorest diets, also had the highest levels of pollution exposure, and in-turn, higher rates of cardiovascular related illness and death. Easy dietary changes, and making smarter food choices, can make a huge difference in the way your body is affecting by, and recovers from, exposure to air pollution.
- Do not exercise outdoors, during high traffic times.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to protect your body from the harmful effects of pollution. The cardiovascular system is the most seriously affected by air pollution, so keeping your lungs and heart strong and healthy through exercise is extremely important. However, it is suggested to not do strenuous outdoor workouts during rush hour, and high traffic times. This is because the levels of compounds and particulates actively moving through the air are significantly higher, putting you at greater risk of inhaling large quantities at once. The best time to do your outdoor cardio routine, like jogging, would be before the morning rush. This way, the evening’s emissions have had time disperse and settle, and the morning’s have yet to occur.
- Check out air pollution apps and plan your activities around them.
Pollution tracking apps for mobile phones are becoming quite popular. They measure and track pollution levels, locally, and give their users an idea of how serious the air contamination is, at any given time. The way to use these apps to reduce your exposure to harmful pollution is to plan your day around the trends. If you like to do daily outdoor activities, try to find the times of day that have the least potential for pollution exposure. Keep track of the best places and times to do your activities, to avoid exposure, and you will likely see a significant difference in your overall health.
- Wash-up after exposure.
One of the less thought of body systems affected by air pollution is the skin. The skin is the largest organ on the human body, and especially susceptible to air pollution. One way to lessen the effects is to clean the skin after spending time outside, or any time spent in high pollution areas. Even a quick wipe down with a wet towel or baby wipe can make a huge difference. Keeping skin well hydrated makes it less susceptible to pollution absorption, because the skin is not as desperate to absorb moisture from the air. This is done by applying moisturizer daily, and by drinking plenty of water.
5. Reconsider traveling to certain areas.
When considering travel, research the areas you are looking to visit. There are some cities in the world with notoriously and dangerously high air pollution levels. Places like Delhi, Beijing, and Mumbai have some of the most polluted and toxic air condition. All 3 cities are beautiful, and have a lot to offer to visitors, but the risk may not be worth the reward, in this case. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 9-million people a year are killed by air pollution; most of these deaths occur in highly industrialized and populated areas. So, when booking your next vacation, consider how much pollution you are willing to expose yourself to. This tip is especially important if you are someone that already suffers from any type of chronic respiratory or pulmonary issue.
There is no place on earth untouched by air pollution. As the dangers become clearer, and more numerous, more steps will be taken to fight this growing problem. To protect our long-term health, it is imperative we take steps to prevent as much exposure and damage as possible.
Gulf Coast Environmental Systems is proud to provide pollution control solutions, that help reduce the amount of harmful VOCs, hazardous air pollutants, and particles released into the atmosphere.