What is Affecting the Air You Breathe? Things to Know About Particulate Matter and Ozone Right Now
Many news sources tout that air quality is improving as people start to adopt “eco-friendly” habits in the wake of climate change. Well, these news sources may be misleading you; a new report from the American Lung Association indicates that levels of air pollution may be starting to climb. The report found that 141 million Americans — about half of the country’s population — live in counties with unhealthy, dirty air. This is a noticeable increase from the approximate 134 million people experiencing unclean air in years prior.
The report states that levels of short-term particulate pollution have spiked across the Western United States. This is due in large part to the region’s rampant wildfires as of late. Cities like Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, California, went from ranking among the cleanest cities, to ranking among the most polluted by particulate matter.
Particulate matter in the air is mainly from sources such as natural dust, smoke and pollen. The largest particulate matter is inhalable and can get into our lungs, causing local and systemic inflammation in the respiratory system & heart, which in turn can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. Small particulate matter, due to its smaller size, can get farther into our bodies. These particles can leak into the bloodstream, which carries them through the organs of various systems, beyond the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, posing wide threats to health
However, you are not necessarily safe just because you live outside of the American West. In addition to wildfires, many other factors are affecting modern day air quality. Changes in weather patterns, lack of regulation for outdated diesel vehicles, and industrial facilities have compounded the problem and elevated particulate matter worldwide.
Particulate matter is not the only thing to worry about; ozone levels are also climbing. Warmer temperatures may be to blame. When the earth’s temperature warms up, reactions in the atmosphere increase. In fact, around the globe, recent years have been the hottest on record. While warmer states like California and Texas dominate the list of the most ozone-polluted areas, many cities in the Midwest and Northeast aren’t far behind. That’s because ozone pollution has the power to move dynamically; it does not respect state or even country lines.
Ozone levels should be closely monitored in the summer months. Since ozone is a reactive gas, it can sit in warm air stagnant for long periods of time. When ozone mixes with other pollutants in the atmosphere, for example vehicle and power plant emissions, the health concerns increase. Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those suffering from asthma are most prone to health risks associated with air pollution and high ozone levels. However, even the healthiest individuals can suffer from compromised health and well-being while living in areas with poor air quality. Ground ozone can cause painful breathing, coughing, increased asthma symptoms, and more.
When you go out into the world, how do you protect yourself from global air pollution? Get on the offensive, with PurifyPal. PurifyPal is a personal air purifying system that is constantly purifying the air around you. Wear PurifyPal around your neck like a necklace to purify the air around the most important parts of your body, your eyes, mouth, nose, and ears.