Should I Care About Clean Air?
Learn why clean air is vital to your health and wellbeing.
Most people can identify air pollution through a thick haze in the air, or through the exhaust that blows out of a car, but the concept of clean air and why it’s important may not be something that we think about often enough. But with outdoor pollution worsening in nearly every major world city, clean air and the lack of it, especially in underdeveloped countries may become a health crisis issue.
“We know that the quality of outdoor air is becoming worse every year,” stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing. “So it is not a question of ‘if,’ but more a question of ‘when’ the crisis in air quality will hit the level where world leaders understand it as a serious health issue. For many people, air pollution makes sense in that it’s a negative thing that needs to be addressed, but it’s only when you reduce it to a human level in terms of how poor air quality affects health, that the problem is really understood.”
Outdoor Pollution Problems
According to an article published on the World Health Organization (WHO) media center site, (1) “more than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.”
The report also found that 98 percent of major cities in countries with at least 100,000 low income and middle income residents, have an air quality index that is below WHO limits.
That figure drops to 56 percent in highly developed countries such as the U.S. and Canada, but that is still a number that should concern anyone who understands the adverse health effects of low quality air.
Indoor Air Quality
But it’s not just outdoor pollution that should concern you, because indoor air quality has also become a problem, due to a variety of pollutants generated inside commercial facilities and residences.
In fact, an article on CNBC.com referenced a study, which found that indoor air quality was often worse than the air found outdoors.
According to Prashant Kumar of the University of Surrey, who was one of the lead authors of the study: (2)
“From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores, the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside.”
Without effective air filtration systems, indoor pollutants can cause a variety of health problems, including the worsening of asthma.
Reasons to Care About Clean Air
Although statistics paint a bleak picture about the downward trend of air quality, people most often respond to critical issues when it becomes more personal.
So why should you care about clean air?
There are multiple reasons, but nearly all of them are directly related to the long-term consequences of breathing contaminated air.
Per an article on the CBC News website, (3) a study found that traffic pollution may be linked to “slower cognitive development and lower memory test scores.”
Dr. Jodi Sunyer and researchers at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, conducted the study, which analyzed three factors related to memory and focus in 2,700 grade-school children every three months over a year.
Sunyer found that in schools located in highly polluted areas, cognitive development was slower than in schools in less polluted areas.
While there may be other factors involved, the study did raise concerns about the effects of breathing vehicle exhaust on the developing minds of children.
But there’s some good news on the other side of the equation.
Per an article on Parenting.com, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (4) “found that reducing air pollution improved lung health in kids ages 11 to 15.”
The study analyzed 2,000 children in five Los Angeles neighborhoods over a period of 12 years, and found that as the air quality improved, lung function also increased.
And although Los Angeles still has high levels of pollution, the city has made significant strides to reduce auto and factory emissions, which has reduced the overall level of outdoor air pollution.
So, you can see that as air pollution increases, it has a very negative effect on the cognition and the lung-capacity of children.
But it’s also true that making improvements in air quality can also have a positive effect on the mental and respiratory health of children.
Camfil Air Filters & Clean Air Solutions
The takeaway from all this is that clean air should be a human right, but in many developing countries, vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly are suffering health issues because they are exposed to harmful particulates outdoors and indoors.
For more than 50 years, Camfil has sold affordable and energy efficient air filtration products to commercial facilities. We understand how important it is to provide clean air solutions to as many people as possible.
Please visit our website to learn more about clean air, and to find out what products we offer.
Camfil USA Air Filters