Outdoor Air Pollution Can be Killing You

Outdoor Air Pollution Can be Killing You

July 05, 2021

Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2016; this mortality is due to exposure to small particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5), which cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers.

91% of the world’s population live in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits.

What makes Air outside so polluted:

  • Particulate matter - Particulate matter, or particle pollution, refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe. It is caused by traffic, forest fires, wood smoke.
  • Ozone- It is usually called "smog," .Ozone is harmful to breathe, it can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing and throat irritation.
  • Nitrogen oxide - Nitrogen dioxide is a gas that comes from burning fuels.
  • Sulphur di oxide - Sulfur dioxide is produced by the burning of sulfur-containing fuels such as coal, oil, diesel.
  • Carbon monoxide - Carbon monoxide is another gas that forms from burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuel.
  • Toxic air pollutants - Nearly 200 other pollutants emitted into the air can cause diseases, including lung cancer, or cause other harmful effects.

Health effects of outdoor air pollution:

  • Cardiovascular disease: It triggers arrhythmias, cardiac failure, and stroke in the short and long term.
  • Respiratory disease: It exacerbates asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Reproductive: Studies have shown that outdoor air pollution causes Increased incidence of low birth weight, preterm birth.
  • Mental health: Researchers at the University of California claimed to have found a connection between exposure to air pollution and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers say that short-term exposure isn't safe either , after they found evidence of a connection between cognitive impairment and exposure to pollution through forest fires, charcoal grills, gridlocked traffic and other temporary sources.

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