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How to Protect Yourself from Air Pollution

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Bad air pollution can damage respiratory systems and in some cases cause death. In recent years, air quality in some US cities has become toxic to its citizens. These cities are home to thousands of families, and moving is not an easy solution for many of them. If you live in an area with heavy ozone and particle pollution, follow these tips to protect yourself from its harms.

Target the source of the problem

One of the best ways to fight poor air quality is to attack the problem at its source. Air pollution can be caused by a number of factors, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from transportation, burning of fossil fuels, climate change, forest fires, and natural disasters.

While it’s impossible to stop a natural disaster and extremely difficult and time-consuming to clean up after one, it is possible to deal with the other sources of pollution mentioned.

Take public transportation, carpool, or walk
Cars leak carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into the air that destroys the ozone layer and increase ozone and particle pollution. Carpool or take public transportation to lessen the number of cars on the road. A single bus carries passengers which are likely to drive 40 cars. Walking is another option if your workplace or school is nearby, but wear a mask to reduce the inhalation of large particles.

Involve yourself in the community
Encourage community participation to clean public parks, beaches, schools, and government buildings. Staying active in your community is essential because combating global warming and pollution is a team effort. Raise your concerns with your local government, as government policies have a big impact on community planning.

The "Three R’s"
You can help reduce air pollution in the long-run by following the “Three R’s” cycle: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Conserving energy and switching to green-friendly products are just a few ways you can implement this routine.

Take control of your indoor air quality

Indoor air is 3-5 times worse than outdoor air. Now imagine having 3-5 times worse indoor air quality in a city with already horrible air pollution. The following tips are ways to take control of your indoor air quality.

Keep air vents clean
Start by keeping your air vents clean and up-to-date. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every three to five years.

Clean often
Clean your house routinely as dust and other allergens can build up and irritate your lungs. Cities with especially bad air pollution produce excess smog and chemical build-up in the home. Dusting, vacuuming, and opening windows to circulate the air can help prevent these irritants from affecting your family.

Purify your workspace
Address your air quality concerns with your office to protect your workplace from pollution. A full-time employee spends somewhere from 35-45 hours in the office per week. As mentioned earlier, indoor air can be 3-5 times worse than outdoor air. Office buildings are often old and have deteriorated ventilation systems or mold growth. Ask your Human Resources team to implement changes in the office if you see these problems.
Purify the air in your home and office
Air purifiers are crucial for cities with poor air quality. Nowadays, companies and homeowners are investing in air purifiers to ensure productivity and individual health. An air purifier can clean up to 99.97 percent of allergens from the air. It works by circulating and filtering harmful particles from the air.

Implementing these tips in your home and your community can make your polluted city liveable. Take extra care of those who suffer most from bad air, which are young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory diseases such as asthma or COPD. To learn more about government air laws, visit EPA’s Pollution Prevention Law and Policies.

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