The negative effects of air pollution on our body specifically to our lungs are undeniably serious. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, nine out of ten people in the world breathe polluted air, and this also results in 7 million deaths per year. There are a lot of reasons and causes of this. Our world is getting hotter and the population is getting bigger especially after world war II. Since the Industrial Revolution, our engines have been pumping dirty emissions into the air. The global south has no access to clean technology and heavily relies on big factories that need to emit a lot of carbon. There is no wonder why we, humans, are susceptible to lung diseases.
There are two types of air pollution. The first one is the outdoor pollution, which is the common pollution source, and the second one is household pollution which refers to pollution generated by combustion fuels, open fires, stoves in poorly ventilated places. In our houses, we have technology that keeps us safe from these pollutants including your HAVC system. However, this technology is not always efficient. Take for instance your air duct. This needs maintenance at least twice a year. Fortunately, there are a lot of local companies like Birmingham duct cleaning that offer these types of services. Both outdoor and indoor pollution can contribute to each other especially when the air moves from outside to the inside of the building, and vice versa.
Either outside or inside the house, we always encounter air pollutants. But what do these pollutants do to our lungs? What diseases can we get when we get too much exposed to dirt and dust?
Overall Health Effects
The actual risk of adverse effects depends largely on your immunity system or your health status, in general; how concentrated the pollution is, or the type of pollutant and the duration of exposure Even the healthy individuals experience breathing difficulties or respiratory irritation when exercising outside the house.
- People who are the following are more prone to develop heart and lung problems due to air pollution:
- Pregnant women;
- Children under 14;
- Athletes who do vigorous outdoor activities;
- Individuals who have an existing lung disease like emphysema, asthma, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or heart disease like congestive heart failure or coronary heart disease; and
- Outdoor workers who have consistent exposure to air pollutants.
A high pollution exposure can cause immediate problems such as:
- Damage to respiratory cells;
- Worsening the existing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses; and
- More stress to lungs and heart.
Longer exposure can have long-term effects including:
Shortened life span;
Decreased lung function;
Aging of lungs; and
Diseases like bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, and others.
Either inside or outside the buildings, we are exposed to different air pollutants every day. The most susceptible to fall prey to these air pollutants that potentially have adverse effects on health are the seniors, children, pregnant, and those whose work environment has poor ventilation. However, healthy individuals are also at risk, as there are reported cases of athletes having cardiovascular problems because of their exposure to outside pollutants during outdoor exercises.