We all know that clean air is good for us. In fact, it’s essential in order for us to thrive and live healthy lives. However, when we add it to our ever-growing list of things to worry and care about – it’s easy to see how our concern and interest in the quality of the air that we breathe may get bumped down on that list.
With an attempt to make you more conscious on your thoughts around the air that you breathe, we created this list of why you should, in fact, care, and some easy action steps that you can take to improve the overall environment.
Remember that air pollution most often can’t be seen, but still has an effect on you
The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that polluted air can make us sick.
“It can irritate your throat and make breathing difficult. In fact, pollutants like tiny airborne particles and ground level ozone can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma. Today, nearly 30 million adults and children in the United States have been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma sufferers can be severely affected by air pollution. Air pollution can also aggravate health problems for the elderly and others with heart or respiratory diseases.”
Air pollution has a price tag
- The health costs of human exposure to outdoor air pollutants range from $40 to $50 billion.
- An estimated 50,000 to 120,000 premature deaths are associated with exposure to air pollutants.
- People with asthma experience more than 100 million days of restricted activity, costs for asthma exceed $4 billion, and about 4,000 people die of asthma.
Environment and Acid Rains
As air pollution is a global issue, and the global environment and climate are severely affected by it. Take acid rain as an example, effecting our crops, trees, lakes and even buildings.
According to Air-Quality.org, “acid deposition and ozone exposure have increased considerably in the past 50 years in Asia, Europe and the US, with many reports of tree/forest decline and increased mortality. In general, the more highly polluted forests have the higher rate of decline and mortality.”
So yes, the effects of bad air quality are clearly making an impact.
So what small steps can we take to prevent it?
First and foremost, make a conscious choice to check the air quality in the city you live in, especially in your neighborhood and/or home. AirNow.gov is a great option.
Awareness is the first step to change – know what you’re dealing with. Once you know, you can take the appropriate steps to secure your home by changing air filters and using air purifiers, and switching to greener energy sources. If bad air quality is a problem in your town, see if there are any organizations that you can join to discuss what can be done as a community to improve air quality.
In addition, EPA recommends the following:
- Conserve energy - turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
- Recycle paper, plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans. (This conserves energy and reduces production emissions.)
- Keep woodstoves and fireplaces well maintained. You should also consider replacing old wood stoves with EPA-certified models. Visit www.epa.gov/burnwise.
- Plant deciduous trees in locations around your home to provide shade in the summer, but to allow light in the winter.
- Buy green electricity-produced by low-or even zero-pollution facilities.
- Connect your outdoor lights to a timer or use solar lighting.
- Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120F.
- Use low-VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes, and paint strippers.
- Test your home for radon-a dangerous, radioactive gas that is odorless and tasteless. If the test shows elevated levels of radon, the problem can be fixed cost effectively. Visit www.epa.gov/radon.
- Choose not to smoke in your home, especially if you have children. If you or your visitors must smoke, then smoke outside. Visit www.epa.gov/smokefree.
Second, practice mindful shopping behaviors and choose healthier/green options when possible. Be a smart consumer and realize that you’re making a positive impact, one purchase at a time.
- Choose efficient, low-polluting models of vehicles. Visit www.epa.gov/greenvehicles.
- Choose products that have less packaging and are reusable.
- Shop with a canvas bag instead of using paper and plastic bags.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.
Let’s make a difference in improving our air quality. Contact us in order to see what we can do to help you to improve and monitor the air quality in your home.