5 Compelling Facts About Air Pollution and Global Health

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December 9, 2019

If air pollution disappeared tomorrow, what health impacts could we expect to see? A group of researchers from the Forum of International Respiratory Societies set out to answer that question by compiling research from around the globe. They recently published their findings in a comprehensive report, Health Benefits of Air Pollution Reduction. Below, we’ve listed five compelling facts from their groundbreaking study.

1. Maintaining better indoor air quality during wildfires can lower your health risks.

It’s no secret that outdoor particulate pollution (PM2.5) from wildfires is associated with an increase in hospital admissions and deaths.  More recent studies show that improving your indoor air quality during environmental disasters can help lower your health risks. Better home air filtration after a Southern California wildfire prevented 11 to 63 percent of the hospital admissions and 7 to 39 percent of the deaths attributable to wildfire particles (PM2.5).

2. Installing HEPA purifiers and filters in your home can reduce indoor allergens and asthma triggers.

Outside of environmental disasters, improving your indoor air quality can reduce daily asthma and allergy symptoms. Research shows that individual, home-based air quality interventions (e.g. installing HEPA filters and air purifiers) significantly decreased exposure to common indoor allergens and reduced asthma symptoms and morbidity rates of children in urban areas.  

3. Conducting an air pollution “intervention” in your home can impact your health as much as a large-scale environmental initiative.

When it comes to outdoor air pollution, it’s easy to feel powerless. You may not be able to influence outdoor conditions, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t significantly lower your exposure. A study conducted in China found that installing air filtration systems in homes and workplaces reduced PM2.5 exposure by 26 to 79 percent — roughly the same particulate matter reduction associated with shutting down a local coal factory.

Another New Zealand study found that installing less-polluting heating systems (such as electric heat pumps, wood pellet burners, and flued gas heaters) in the homes of children with asthma reduced symptoms as well as school absenteeism, healthcare use, and pharmacy visits.

4. Education and socioeconomic status are negatively correlated with indoor air pollution.

As average socioeconomic status and education decrease, average indoor air pollution levels increase (along with serious health risks). These findings reveal how important air quality education and affordable ventilation and filtration solutions are to global health outcomes.

5. Improving pollution levels results in major healthcare savings.

Researchers have estimated that the monetary healthcare benefits of the Clean Air Act (passed in 1963) will reach $2 trillion in 2020 — about 32 times greater than the cost of implementation. These benefits are largely attributed to the number of deaths avoided per year due to lower concentrations of outdoor particulate matter (PM).

Know What’s in the Air You’re Breathing

Regardless of the air quality in your region, Awair Element can give you insight into your indoor air quality and empower you to create a healthier home, office, and beyond. To learn more about Awair Element and start taking control of the air you breathe, follow the link below.