Air Pollution - The Biggest Threat to Your Lifespan and Healthspan

Blog Lifestyle Air Pollution - The Biggest Threat to Your Lifespan and Healthspan

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5.9.2024 0 comments

Do you have any idea just how much damage air pollution does in your body?

Chances are, the answer to that question is “No” because air pollution is almost entirely invisible (unless you’re dealing with Mexico City or Shanghai levels of smog).

For the most part, the particulates, toxins, and pollutants that are doing you harm are unseen by the naked eye—which makes it an even more insidious form of damage than those caused by poisons, heavy metals, and other more visible chemicals.

According to the World Health Organization [1], roughly 2.4 billion people (nearly 1/3 of the world’s population) are exposed to “dangerous levels of household air pollution”.

Even worse, the combination of both ambient and household air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people around the world each year.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation ranks pollution 3rd, 7th, and 9th on their list of “Deaths by Risk Factor (for 2019)” [2]. That includes both indoor and outdoor particulate matter pollution.

The IHME also ranks air pollution as the second most common risk factor for the global disease burden, right after high blood pressure. Air pollution is an even greater common cause of disease than smoking, high blood sugar, and obesity.

Clearly, it’s no small threat to your life and your health both.

Understanding Air Pollution

Air pollution is largely invisible to the naked eye. Most of us have no idea how much pollution we’re exposed to on a daily basis—which means we can’t take active measures to reduce air pollution exposure.

The good news is that there are a lot of simple tools you can use to measure the quality of the air in your home, neighborhood, and city: – AirNow is a website run by the U.S. Government to help you track the air quality in your area. Simply input the Zip Code into the search box and it will pull up the air quality index data in real time for your area. (Note: In Canada, many provinces provide provincial data rather than relying on the federal government to collect country-wide data. You can search based on your province.) There is also an app version available to download to your phone.

A home air quality monitor – There are devices created specifically to monitor the air quality inside your home, similar to how CO2 or smoke is monitored. Wirecutter, a subsidiary website of the New York Times, has an updated list of the Best Home Air Quality Monitors on the market.

Smart Apps – There are a number of smartphone apps that track air quality using not only the information available via the U.S. government, but also their own devices installed in homes around the country. The AI-based systems provide real-time updates on air quality data to help you keep track of the cleanliness of your air.

These are a few good steps to take to monitor the air quality in your home, to help raise awareness of potential hazards and pollutants in the air.

But why not take it a step farther and actively try to clean up your air? That way, you can be confident that you’re breathing only the cleanest, least polluted air possible.

Simple Steps to Take To Reduce Pollution Improve Air Quality

There are a few things you can do to improve your air quality, both indoors and outdoors [3]:

  • Keep your home clean. A significant amount of what we consider “air pollution” is actually just the dust, pet dander, mold, and other pollutants and allergens that accumulate inside your home. While it’s always prevalent, it’s largely preventable. The simple solution is to keep your home clean. Vacuuming your carpets and sweeping and moping your floors will go a long way toward removing particulates that you would otherwise inhale if left uncleaned.

  • Filter your air. If you live in a country or area that utilizes furnaces for heating, make sure to hange the air filters in your furnace or whole-home heating system regularly. Not only will it clean up your air quality, but it’ll also extend the longevity of your furnace. And if you can, consider buying and running an air purifier (with HEPA filter) in your home to filter out toxins, bacteria, and air contaminants that both accumulate indoors and get tracked or blown in from outside your house.

  • Open the windows. Whenever the weather permits, open your windows to let fresh air in. The air outside may have some pollution (especially if you live in urban areas), but it will be better than letting air circulate inside an entirely closed-up house. During the warmer months, try to open the windows every single day.

  • Get rid of cooking fumes. Run the fan over your stove or oven to let cooking fumes out, or, if possible, open a window. Gas stoves release fumes that can contribute to air pollution, and the smell of cooked food can make the inside of your house smell quite unpleasant.

  • Reduce indoor dampness. When the interior of your house is damp—particularly in dark, cool spaces like your basement or attic—it creates a breeding ground for mold and other VOCs. For the areas of your home prone to dampness, run a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the air. Pay attention to your home’s foundation to look for leaks that could be allowing outside water into your home.

  • Stay indoor on days when pollution or air contaminants are very high. You can’t avoid breathing outdoor contaminants and air pollution entirely, but keep an eye on local air pollution ratings to make sure you avoid going out on days when pollution is high—for example, when there is smoke from wildfires in the air or the chemicals from industrial plants are being blown into the city by the wind.

  • Live in a rural or suburban area. The farther away from industrial districts you are, the cleaner your air is likely to be. Obviously, being in urban areas is more convenient for people who work in big cities, but if you have the choice, consider moving away from the busier, more polluted parts of town (aka, the places with lots of vehicle traffic). And definitely try to stay far away from factories that release chemicals into the air all day, every day.

  • Spend more time outdoors. Trees do an amazing job of filtering out air pollutants and providing you with fresh, clean air to breathe. The more time you can spend surrounded by nature and green life, the better you will feel and the cleaner the air you’ll breathe. Even if you live and work smack in the heart of a busy city, try to get out and hang out in local parks or green spaces. And on the weekend, go out into the nearby forests or woods or fields to get as much fresh, clean air as you can.

Simple steps, but what a difference they can make for your health in the long-term!

Because poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma according to the American Lung Association.

Moreover, researchers at the University of Southern California have found that older women who lived in areas of high air pollution were 92% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who live in less polluted areas.3

Turns out that protecting your brain from these memory-stealing pollutants is VITAL.

But how can we do that?

Join us on Thursday night for a webinar by acclaimed Health Researcher Trevor King where he explores the link between poor air and poor health.

You’ll be astounded by what you learn.

For example:

  • Where this filthy stuff in your home air comes from, so you can protect your family better.

  • Autopsies of young adults and children who lived in heavily polluted Mexico City revealed highly elevated amyloid plaque levels in their brains.4

  • What kind of health problems can happen because of bad air inside, and simple ways to stop them.

  • In a study published in JAMA, researchers collected data from 27,000 older adults. They found that increased exposure to particulate matter air pollution could lead to as many as 188,000 cases of dementia per year.6

  • Why those air purifiers from big stores might not be doing the job, and how to pick one that really works.

The only problem with Trevor’s webinars? They are so popular they often fill up. And the room only holds 1,000 people.

Sign up here today and we’ll see you there.


With our modern world being so heavily industrialized and our streets frequented by so many pollution-emitting vehicles, it’s nearly impossible to avoid air pollution entirely.

However, with a few simple precautions—like those we listed above—you can be proactive about reducing your daily exposure to air pollution.

The less polluted air you breathe, the less affected your lungs and cardiovascular system will be, and the longer, healthier life you’ll have a chance of living. That’s absolutely worth making a few minor changes to your daily habits and life choices, isn’t it?


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