Fume Facts: How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Wellbeing?

Whether you’re passionate about environmental wellness or not, I think everyone can agree that air pollution is bad, at least for your health and wellbeing. However, while you may think the only damage being done is to your lung wellness, a new study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, has found that your heart may also be at risk to air pollution.


The study researchers – who defined ozone and air pollution as indoor and outdoor contamination by any chemical, physical, or biological agent – broke down eight years of air quality data for Houston, Texas, in order to determine whether Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards actually protect you from heart attacks triggered by air pollution and ozone. The Baker Institute at Rice University team examined seven studies, and looked at the links between out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and levels of ozone and air pollution.


The technical term for the stuff that pollutes the air is known as fine particulate, and the results of the study revealed that there was an increased level of fine particulate in the air on the day before people had out-of-hospital heart attacks. This wasn’t a tremendous increase in particulate by any means, as it only ranged from 2% to 9%. However, this is still enough to be statistically significant, and so the researchers concluded that the EPA standards do not protect the public as well as they should.


Let’s take a look at some other interesting facts about air pollution that you might know:


1. Pollution in China can alter American weather, as the jet stream can carry heavy air pollution across to the US in just five days.


2. Household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities, and forest fires are the most common sources of air pollution.


3. Living in a place with high levels of air pollutants increases your risk of death from lung cancer by 20%.


4. In Pakistan, air pollution levels are almost 10 times over what the World Health Organisation consider as being safe. However, the world’s most polluted country is Mongolia, with an air pollution level 14 times higher than the WHO’s standard threat level.


5. Air pollution takes one to two years off the typical human life span.

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