Air Pollution Facts and Prevention Tips

While we can choose what we eat and drink, we cannot choose the air we are breathing. Thus any of us can be exposed to pollutants at one time or another, simply through the air we inhale. The effects of our exposure to air contaminants may vary based on the exposure dose: some may appear immediately, while others could develop over a long time after the exposure started. This is why it is always a good idea to evaluate possible past exposures (at home, work, etc.)

Additionally, similar with traveling via airplane vs. any other form of transport, pollutants travel in the air fast and are easily spread around over large areas, affecting many people even in their homes. This means that, while a toxic release/spill to the water and/or soil may be contained and treated, a release of toxic compounds into the air cannot be contained. It may spread quickly over large areas and pollute even remote areas with little or no human activity.

Indoor air poses more health risks than the outdoor air. While polluted air may diffuse everywhere and the ambient air may pose an overall health risk, various pollutants concentrate in enclosed spaces with poor or no air circulation, such as indoors. This is why exposure to various air pollutants usually happens indoors. This is also why good air circulation between indoors and outdoors is essential to reduce the health risks of breathing the air indoors. Thus, the main preventive measure to avoid exposure to air pollution is to keep the spaces you are in well ventilated (opening windows or having a system that circulates outdoor air continuously).

In many cases, exposure to polluted air is not perceived by any of our senses. This is because the concentrations of pollutants in the air that may create health risks are usually much below what we can smell, see, or taste. This is why, for example, the butane gas from cooking stoves or the natural gas coming from pipelines has some additives (substances) that give it smell. Otherwise, we would not be able to smell dangerous amounts of gas escaping from stoves, pipelines, etc. Imagine that, apart from the gas that comes through pipelines, in nature, no one adds any smelling compounds to the gas, thus if in certain areas gas is produced naturally you will not be able to feel it and it may even kill you. Therefore, never feel safe simply because you cannot feel any contaminants in the air!

Where to Pay Attention

Tips to Avoid Air Pollution