Do you know how air pollution affects our health? Air is essential to human life, and yet the air we breathe can also be a source of significant harm. Air quality is the degree of pollution of clean air (Zhang, 2005). Clean air is the air that is free from contaminants. The way to determine air quality is by measuring the concentration of pollutants in the air. The lower the intensity of airborne pollutants, the better is the air quality.
Across the world, both cities and villages are seeing toxic pollutants in the air exceed the average annual values recommended by WHO’s air quality guidelines. Air pollution is a substantial environmental risk to one’s health. Several studies support a link between air pollution and poor health outcomes such as:
- Respiratory diseases
- Cardiovascular damage
- Fatigue, headaches, and anxiety
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Damage to reproductive organs
- Harm to the liver, spleen, and blood
- Nervous system damage
An estimated 7 million deaths globally are linked to ambient (outdoor) air pollution, principally from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Dirtier air from the areas with high concentrations of particulate matter known as PM10 that exceeded World Health Organisation limits caused students’ performance to drop by two percentage points. Air pollution lead to 4.2 million deaths each year, with 91 percent of the world population living in areas where it is higher than the limits set by the WHO guidelines.
Studies have linked the inhalation of pollutants to wellness problems such as asthma. In 1973, the first study of the consequences of air pollution on birth effect found a link between in utero exposure to air pollution and low birth weight. After that, researchers have uncovered myriad health effects in children tied to the quality of the air their mothers breathed while pregnant. When women exposed to higher levels of pollutants during pregnancy, their children have lower levels of lung functioning (Rosalind Wright).
In a study of seven-year-olds, those children, especially boys, who were exposed to nitrate from vehicle emissions during weeks six through 12 of gestation scored lower on lung capacity tests. Contaminants in the atmosphere appear to have dangerous effects on neurodevelopment and cognitive function. The analysis disclosed that the higher a person’s estimated exposure to air pollution, the higher the decay in his test scores over the study period.
In 2016, researchers found that children and adolescents were more likely to have been prescribed psychiatric medications when they lived in areas with high nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Another research published linked lifetime exposure to air pollution with depression and anxiety in 12-year-olds. On the other hand, 1 billion children under 15 years old exposed to high levels of facility air pollution from mainly cooking with polluting technologies and fuels (WHO).
Most of the people experience allergies in response to a range of materials. If you start to experience these issues shortly after you walk into your office or home, you are likely dealing with poor air quality within that space. If you begin to have dizziness, nausea, rashes, fevers, chills, fatigue, vomiting, muscle pain, shortness of breath, or hearing loss, then you may be dealing with a much more extreme issue.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you must call a professional to identify what was sabotaging the air quality in your building and fix the problem as quickly as possible. It would be wise to consult with your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing as soon as possible. If you frequently experience bronchitis or pneumonia symptoms, it could be a direct result of the airborne particles you’re breathing in from your building.
Get your air system inspected and cleaned. You must change your air filters regularly and use an air purification system in your home. Ideally, you want to catch smaller symptoms before they turn into a bigger problem, especially when the health of you or your family is on the line.