Unlike water and land pollution, where physical signs of contamination can be quite apparent, air pollutants are sometimes invisible. Think about tiny air particulates, odorless and colorless gases, and viruses suspended in the air. Not always seeing evidence of air pollution has probably led most people to think that it cannot affect us.
Air Pollution Facts You Probably Don’t Know About
Not seeing air pollutants does not mean it cannot harm us. Here are 5 air pollution facts you probably don’t know, but you should.
Inhalation of pollutants is the most dangerous route of exposure
People can get exposed to harmful pollutants in three ways: skin absorption, ingestion and inhalation. Of these three routes of exposure, inhalation is the most dangerous. We can easily avoid hazardous substances by not touching these or not eating or drinking items contaminated with them.
On the other hand, avoiding breathing polluted air is much more difficult to do. Upon inhalation, harmful air pollutants can enter our respiratory tract. They can cause detriment such as lung injury, asphyxiation, nausea and chest pain.
Air pollution kills 7 million people every year
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills about 7 million people each year. WHO data shows that more than 50% of the deaths are caused by outdoor air pollution, affecting both developed and developing countries. The rest are caused by household exposure to smoke from cooking and fuels.
The smaller the air particulates, the more dangerous they become
Don’t belittle fine particles suspended in the air. Particulates is the main ingredient of haze, smoke and airborne dust. Particles with diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less pose more danger because they can get deep into your lungs or enter your bloodstream.
Short-term exposure to particulates can worsen pre-existing lung diseases such as asthma and acute bronchitis. On the other hand, long term exposure enhances the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Worst, it can lead to premature death.
Long term exposure can occur if you are living or working in a highly urbanized area where air quality is poor. Likewise, constant exposure to smoke from cookstoves using biomass (like wood) as fuel is also a cause of long-term exposure to particulates.
Air pollution is the leading public health issue of our time
Based on a study by the European Society of Cardiology, ambient air pollution ranks as the top cause of death and loss of life expectancy. The study has shown that loss of life expectancy from air pollution far beats that of HIV/ AIDS, parasitic, vector-borne and other infectious diseases.
We are all part of the air pollution problem
Natural processes such as volcanic eruption can cause air pollution, but a large chunk of the problem are results of human activities:
- Burning of fossil fuel for power and heat generation
- Air emissions from use of transport
- Industrial processes
- Mining operations
- Methane emissions from landfill
- Agricultural activities
- Indoor cooking using biomass as fuel
It goes to say that we are all contributors to air pollution in one way or another. It then also follows that we can collectively be part of the solution to reducing air pollution.
Reduce health risk from air pollution
Having been aware of some of the most important air pollution facts, are you ready to seriously protect yourself from deadly air pollutants? Don’t wait for yourself to get sick.
The Urban Air Snood is an anti-air pollution scarf that can filter out fine articles as small as 0.1 microns (the size of viruses) to 10 microns diameter using nanofiber technology. Learn more about our anti-air pollution scarves here