Breathing Easy: The Link Between Clean Air, Earth Day, and Your Health

Earth Day and the Link to Our Health

 Air pollution is a pressing issue that affects millions of people worldwide, including the United States. The sources of air pollution are diverse, ranging from vehicle emissions and industrial activities to natural phenomena like wildfires. All of these, and additional pollutants, compromise the air we breathe and also contribute to serious health issues of respiratory diseases, heart conditions, asthma, allergies and more. According to the American Lung Association, more than 4 in 10 Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution*. As we strive to protect our planet, we also promote well-being by tackling air pollution and addressing air quality. 

Earth Day is a reminder to take care of the environment including the air we breathe. As the day approaches, it’s crucial to reflect on our planet’s health and our own. Clean air is a necessity for life. Unfortunately, there are so many pollutant factors like PM 2.5, mold, pollen, and dust in  the air we breathe. Let’s discuss air pollution and the negative impacts it has on our health. Then, we will break down what these pollutants are and explore steps to safeguard our air, both indoors and out.


Air Pollution

From urban centers to rural communities, no corner of the country is immune to the consequences of poor air quality. “World Health Organization (WHO) data show that almost all of the global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures”.** This staggering statistic highlights the widespread impact of pollutants on our daily lives and underscores the urgency of addressing this environmental challenge. Air pollution can consist of VOCs, PM 2.5, allergens and affect our everyday lives. 


What is PM 2.5 and why is it harmful?

PM stands for particulate matter, and PM 2.5 refers to tiny particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. To put that into perspective, a human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter. Due to their minuscule size, PM 2.5 particles can penetrate deep into our lungs and even enter our bloodstream when inhaled. They are like tiny, invisible invaders infiltrating your body with every breath you take. 

These particles can cause respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions like asthma or heart disease. Our bodies feel the impact of particulate matter penetrating our lungs and bloodstream. Therefore, long-term exposure to PM 2.5 has also been linked to cardiovascular problems, lung cancer, and even premature death. “Researchers estimate that PM2.5 is responsible for nearly 48,000 premature deaths in the United States every year”.*

But it’s not just our health that’s at risk; the environment suffers too. Particulate matter contributes to haze, reducing visibility and impacting ecosystems. It also sits on soil and water, affecting plant growth and aquatic life. 


What are VOCs and why are they harmful?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a group of chemicals that easily evaporate into the air at room temperature. They are commonly found in household products such as paints, varnishes, cleaning supplies, and even furniture and are found at  rates 2-5 times higher  indoors.*** While some VOCs are naturally occurring and relatively harmless, others are synthetic and can have adverse effects on health. 

When VOCs are released into the air, they can react with other pollutants to form ozone (smog) and other harmful contaminants, contributing to indoor air pollution. Additionally, prolonged exposure to high levels of VOCs has been linked to a range of health problems. This includes headaches, dizziness, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Furthermore, some VOCs are classified as carcinogens, increasing the risk of cancer with long-term exposure. It is essential to be mindful of VOC emissions in indoor environments and take steps to minimize exposure to these harmful chemicals for better indoor air quality and overall health.


Other Threats to Our Respiratory Health

Apart from PM 2.5 and VOCs, other airborne pollutants like mold spores, pollen, and dust also pose significant health risks, especially during certain times of the year. For instance, mold tends to thrive in damp environments, making it more prevalent during the humid months of spring and summer. As moisture levels rise, mold spores become airborne and infiltrate indoor spaces. This triggers allergic reactions and respiratory problems in certain individuals. 

Similarly, pollen levels soar during the spring and early summer months, as trees, grass, and weeds release pollen into the air as part of their reproductive cycle. This increase in pollen concentration can exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms.

Moreover, dust, although present year-round, can be more commonly found when windows and doors are often kept closed. Carpets, upholstery, and other household surfaces become a reservoir for dust, allergens, bacteria, and even toxic chemicals. When disturbed, whether through sweeping, vacuuming, or simply walking through a room, dust particles become airborne, posing threats to our respiratory system and overall health. 


How can we protect ourselves and our environment? 

By raising awareness and taking action to improve air quality, we can make a difference. Not just on Earth Day, but everyday! Planting trees, for instance, helps to absorb pollutants and release oxygen, thereby purifying the air. Trees are like nature’s air purifiers, working tirelessly to keep our environment clean and healthy.

But what about indoors, where we spend most of our time? This is where products like AirDoctor air purifiers come in. Just as trees clean the outdoor air, AirDoctor cleans your indoor air, capturing harmful pollutants like PM 2.5, VOCs, mold spores, pollen, and dust. With advanced filtration technology, AirDoctor captures these pollutants, ensuring that the air you breathe indoors is fresh and clean.


Celebrating Earth Day

Let’s remember that clean air is not only essential for our health but also for the health of our planet. By taking steps to reduce pollution and improve air quality, we can create a healthier environment for generations to come. Whether it’s planting trees or investing in air purifiers, every action counts in the fight for clean air and a sustainable future. That’s why this Earth Day, AirDoctor is pledging to donate to plant a tree for every air purifier purchased during our Earth Day Sale. Join us in our mission to provide everyone with clean air by shopping AirDoctor air purifiers!



** https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

*** https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-are-volatile-organic-compounds-vocs

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