Every year, over 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into our atmosphere.
For perspective, just one ton of CO2 is enough to fill a sphere 32 feet in diameter. And CO2 is just one of the many harmful substances polluting our air.
It’s clear to see that we’re running out of room.
What does this mean for the health of our bodies and our planet? Can air purifiers reduce pollution in your home and beyond?
Keep reading to learn about the dangers of air pollution and how an air purifier can keep your family safe.
How Do Air Purifiers Help with Air Pollution?
Air purifiers are electronic fan devices that sanitize the air, remove pollutants, and reduce allergens. They can also be effective in reducing the risk of airborne illnesses.
The basic structure of an air purifier is simple. Most air purifiers use a large fan to suck in air and pull it through one or more filters. These filters are usually made of mesh, paper, and fiber with a very fine knit that captures particles.
Some air purifiers also feature charcoal to catch and eliminate odors. Advanced, modern air purifiers may have an electric panel that kills bacteria and viruses in the air. After the air has been filtered, purified, and sanitized, it circulates back into the room.
Pollutants in Your Home
Believe it or not, the air in your home is more polluted than the air outdoors. Pollutants, pet dander, and toxins become trapped in the walls of our homes, building up until they start to make us feel sick. An air purifier can help to reduce the number of pollutants and irritants you breathe in.
Want kind of pollutants might your air purifier catch in your home? To name a few:
- Dust and dirt
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Mold and fungal spores
- Particulate like asbestos
- Carbon monoxide
- Toxins and chemicals
Indoor air pollution can cause and exacerbate health issues, especially for vulnerable populations. Babies, children, older adults, and immunosuppressed people are at higher risk of developing serious health complications.
Pollutants in the World
By now, most people are aware of the research that shows our planet is becoming more polluted. Air pollution is particularly difficult to address because air is everywhere, and we heavily rely on many of the pollutant sources, like gasoline.
Some of these nasty particles could find their way into your home and body:
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen oxides
- Ground-level ozone
- Sulfur oxides
- Other particulate matter
In a way, your air purifier plays a small but crucial role in cleaning up and protecting the planet. Having an air purifier helps with air pollution and reduces the amount of concerning outdoor pollutants. Capturing and disposing of these pollutants keeps them from floating around in the environment.
Where is the Worst Pollution?
Although air is everywhere and pollutants eventually spread, there are some places where the concentration is particularly high. People who live near these areas can certainly benefit from a high-quality air purifier in their homes.
Highways and Airports
Transportation is one of the worst offenders when it comes to air pollution. The main components of car and airplane exhaust include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and ozone. Studies from the EPA have shown that people who live, work, or attend school near busy highways are at higher risk for health consequences.
Densely Populated Cities
If you’ve ever been to a large city, you may have noticed a considerable amount of city smog. Cities like Mumbai, New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, and Shanghai have extremely high levels of pollution, creating a visible brown haze in the atmosphere. Vehicles produce the majority of the haze, but factories, restaurants, crematoriums, and more can also contribute to city smog.
Power and Processing Plants
As previously mentioned, consumerism drives a large portion of air pollution through factories and manufacturers. But some of the basic necessities we’ve come to rely on, like electricity and sewer services, have become highly toxic to our planet and our bodies. Recent research has shown that every year, thousands of premature deaths are the result of pollution from power plants.
Long-Term Health Effects of Air Pollution
Most people are aware that pollution is bad for human health, but more research is necessary to determine exactly what problems it may cause. It’s difficult to study the long-term health effects of air pollution because severe pollution is still a relatively recent concern.
The following health problems have ample evidence to support their claims. By keeping an air purifier in your home, you may be able to reduce the risk of these illnesses happening to you or your family.
Respiratory and Cardiovascular Diseases
Perhaps it’s no surprise that constantly inhaling smoke, chemicals, and noxious gases can have respiratory consequences. Research has linked air pollution with higher rates of respiratory illness, including emphysema, COPD, and chronic bronchitis. These illnesses are irreversible, and they can have detrimental effects on people’s lives.
Increased Risk for Cancer
Researchers have found that living in polluted strongly increases a person’s risk for developing cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One study found that women living near major roads were much more likely to develop breast cancer. Cancer is a serious health issue that requires intensive medical treatment, but little is being done to address pollution as the cause.
Reproductive and Developmental Effects
Pregnant women are often warned about the dangers of smoking and drinking while pregnant, but it’s not as if they can avoid breathing air. Exposure to air pollution can result in reproductive complications, including infertility, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and miscarriage.
Air pollution harms fetal development as well. Outcomes could include low birth weight, premature birth, and even stillbirth. Some research suggests that exposure to pollutants during pregnancy and early childhood may cause developmental disorders.
Effects on Vulnerable Populations
Children, older adults, and immunosuppressed people are more likely to suffer from the consequences of pollution. Children, in particular, are more likely to develop asthma and bronchitis if they live near busy roadways. Higher air pollution levels also lead to more respiratory infections, causing kids to miss school.
In older adults, air pollution can worsen existing health conditions. Older people are more likely to suffer from memory loss and neurological problems if they regularly breathe polluted air. One study found that fine particles in the air increase older people’s risk of developing dementia.
It is also worth noting that people of color are more likely to live in areas with heavy air pollution. Regardless of their income or region, these people suffer from serious health consequences related to poor air quality. Many people of color also have less access to healthcare, education, and nutritious foods, making them more likely to develop serious illnesses.
Other Ways to Reduce Pollution
The dangers of air pollution can seem unavoidable, but there are some steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe. Keeping an air purifier in your home is an easy and effective way to reduce your exposure to pollutants, but there are other actions you can take to further reduce your risk.
Keep Your Windows Closed
When you want to get “fresh air” into your home, you may be tempted to open the windows. This is not such a great idea, especially if you live in a city or near a busy roadway. Opening the windows invites more air pollution and debris into your home and your lungs.
If you have an air purifier, you shouldn’t need to worry about obtaining “fresh air.” The air emitted by an air purifier is some of the cleanest air you can find. If you must open your windows, avoid opening them during rush hours and only open the windows that face away from the road.
Dust and Vacuum Regularly
Dust, dander, mites, and mold spores eventually settle onto the surfaces in your home. If you aren’t regularly dusting and vacuuming, your air purifier won’t be able to remove this particulate matter. Accumulation of dust and grime on your air filters can also cause your air purifier to work overtime and eventually burn out.
Try to dust and vacuum your home at least once per week. It’s a good idea to dust before you vacuum so you can capture any particles that fall onto the floor.
Check the Air Quality
Before opening your windows or heading outdoors, check the daily air quality of your local area. Many weather services post this information on their websites or include it in their weather apps.
If you must go outside despite a poor air quality warning, consider wearing a mask. In many countries, like China and India, masks were seen public spaces long before COVID. Masks help reduce the number of fine particles you inhale outdoors, lowering your risk for respiratory illness.
An air purifier will help you control indoor air pollution, but there isn’t much you personally do about outdoor pollution. This is why it’s crucial to get involved in politics and change our environmental policies.
To protect the health of ourselves and our families long-term, we need to push toward more eco-friendly solutions. Greenhouse gases and other air pollutants are killing us and the rest of the planet. One way you can help is to implement change in your own city.
Studies have shown that roadside vegetation, berms, and sound barriers are very helpful for reducing the impacts of vehicle pollution. Volunteer to plant trees, write to your political leaders, and pressure corporations to make greener decisions.
Breathe Deep and Relax
As we head into a challenging future, air purifiers will be essential for the health and happiness of our homes. When you have an air purifier, you can breathe deeply and know that you’re doing your part to protect your family and our planet.
At Airfree, we believe that you and your loved ones deserve to breathe clean air every day. Keep your family safe for the future; click here to shop our selection of sleek and effective air purifiers!