How Air Pollution Affects Your Health

How Air Pollution Affects Your Health

Air pollution exposure has been identified to be the root cause of long-term physical ailments such as asthma, abnormal lung growth, cardiovascular diseases, brain development damage and diabetes.

All over the world, air pollution is the leading cause of premature death to more than 5.5 Million people. That number is more that HIV/Aids and Malaria-related death cases reported.

But how does air pollution really affect us?

Every day, we are exposed to harmful pollutants from road traffic such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, as well as sulfur dioxide that comes from burning fossil fuels. The combination of these elements has been linked to limited growth in infants and children, and asthma, heart disease and diabetes for adults. In fact, pregnant women who are constantly  exposed to air pollution has been found to affect fetal brain growth and development.

Unfortunately, this situation is unavoidable. In Hong Kong, air pollution from motor vehicles, marine vessels, power plants and local steel pollution is a reality that all residents live with.

For now, the best method to ensure a healthy breathing environment at home is to have an air purifier and wear a protective anti-pollution mask when going out.


Main Air Pollutants

Sulphur Dioxide

Source: Fossil fuels, Power Stations

Nitrogen Dioxide

Source: High concentration in road traffic, indoor gas cookers

Ozone (Ground Level)

Source: chemical reactions – natural, traffic and industrial pollution to sunlight

Particulate Matter (PM)

Source: road traffic, dirt and dust from vehicles

Metals (Lead, Mercury, Arsenic)

Source: emissions from iron and steel factories


Health Impact

Lungs:

Suppress normal growth in children. Rapid lung function decline. Lung cancer and asthma

Pancreas

Type 2 diabetes in adults

Heart

Stroke, atherosclerosis

Brain

Affect fetal brain growth, mental and physical development in children, cognition in adults

Source: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/file/2914/download?token=NZzDVymh

Did you like this blog post? If so, feel free to comment on how you feel about air pollution and what steps you’re taking to ensure good health? 

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