February may be a short month, but there was no shortage of intriguing air quality posts! A wide-range of articles from around the world made this month’s Air Quality Evangelists list—and they’re some of our most diverse choices ever. Check out our favorite blog posts and learn a few tips to keep you healthy indoors and out: Meet our Air Quality Evangelists for February!
I’m an environmental consultant that specializes in air quality, so people are always surprised to hear I live in one of the United States’ major centers for oil refining. It’s known as one of the most air quality-challenged regions of our country, and needless to say, I get a lot of questions around town about air quality and the risks associated with where I live.
Here’s what I know:
Exxon Mobil’s largest North American petrochemical complex is in the middle of my town. This is where plastic ingredients and the specialty chemicals for foods and personal products come from. In fact, most of the other big oil and chemical companies are also within a half hour drive.
Cleaner, pollutant-free air adds almost 5 months to our lives. So say the results of an interesting study published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. The study, headed by an epidemiologist at Brigham Young University (BYU), tracked the correlation between particulate pollution levels and life expectancy over 2 decades in 51 U.S. cities. Researchers say it’s the first to illustrate that reducing air pollution can translate into a longer lifespan. How’s that for a reason to make an air purifier a permanent part of your environment? Read more about how cleaner air can help you live longer
We already know that air pollution can cause premature birth and damage the lungs of growing children – and now a study suggests that air pollution may interfere with your ability to have children.
Ahmad Hammoud of the Univesity of Utah found that fine particle pollution – which peaks in December, January, and February – causes a drop in sperm motility one to two months later. (It takes sperm between two to three months to mature.) Read more about air pollution and sperm
Cancer is now the leading cause of death worldwide. While there is a genetic component to cancer, you can reduce your risk greatly by exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and avoiding carcinogens in your environment.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) points out the most common environmental carcinogens:
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that forms in soil and rock, and it can build up to dangerous levels in your home undetected. Exposure to radon is a known cause of lung cancer, and this stealthy gas may kill over 30,000 Americans per year. Install a radon detection kit to protect your family. Learn more about environmental carcinogens
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nail salons that offer manicure and pedicure services commonly have high levels of dangers indoor air pollution. At sufficient concentrations, these indoor air pollutants may increase the chance of cancer and lead to other serious health conditions like reproductive problems, birth defects, severe allergic reactions, and aggravated asthma. Read more about nail salon air quality
According to a University of Cincinnati study, more than 30 percent of public schools are in “air pollution danger zones” within a quarter mile of major highways, reports Yahoo News.
Research shows the pollutants from automobiles can increases school children’s chances of developing respiratory diseases later in life. Read more about how air pollution impacts health
ScienceNews reports that daily exposure to airborne soot from car exhaust, smokestacks, and other sources of combustion is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.
Barry Dellinger of Louisiana State University says that the exposure could be the equivalent of smoking one cigarette per day – or as many as two packs a day!
Dellinger’s research team found that combustion produces free radicals that linger in the air much longer than previously thought. “To our enormous surprise, the free radicals survive hours, days, even indefinitely.” Read more about free radicals and air pollution
With the 2008 Summer Olympics less than a month away, millions of eyes study the sky over Beijing. China has taken drastic measures to clean up the air in Beijing. Many polluting factories are being shut down for the Olympic Games, and restrictions are being placed on driving. Drivers are banned from driving every other day, based on whether their license plate number is odd or even.
Still, many scientists expect Beijing’s poor air quality to cause problems for athletes and spectators alike. It’s no surprise that air pollution damages the lungs and can cause respiratory diseases like asthma, but in the past few years, researchers have discovered that poor air quality can also cause cardiovascular disease and trigger heart attacks. Read more about particulate air pollution