Air Pollution Increases Your Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke and More
When you breathe in polluted air, the pollutants reach much further than your nose, mouth and even lungs. Polluted air affects all of your body's systems, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Think of it this way: the lungs are designed to transport oxygen you breathe in into your bloodstream, where it's carried throughout your entire body. Whatever is in that air, then, is also eventually transported, via your bloodstream, to all the organs in your body, including your heart, liver, brain and other organs.
Everyday we breathe in 15,000 liters of air. If that air is polluted, the toxins are transported to all the organs in our bodies.
When the air you breathe contains toxins, for example particulate matter from car exhaust or diesel fumes, it can have nasty effects on your health.
To get an idea of just how significant a health problem air pollution presents, consider that every day we breathe in about 15,000 liters of air (that's about six to 10 liters every minute), according to the American Lung Association. So efficient are our lungs, that that air is drawn across 600 to 900 square feet of surface area in the tiny sacs in our lungs.
Along with the 16 health problems, including genetic abnormalities, that were discussed in a past Sixwise.com article, a study published by the published by the Karolinska Institute, Institute of Environmental Medicine, found that long-term exposure to air pollution, particularly that from motor traffic, increases the risk of fatal heart attacks.
Another study, published in the March 2005 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that air pollution increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and makes respiratory problems worse, by thickening the blood and increasing inflammation, respectively.
Indoor Air and Your Health
Although the common perceptions of air pollution typically involve outdoor air (exhaust fumes, industrial pollution, etc.)--though outdoor air pollution IS a real and valid concern--your indoor air may actually be posing a greater risk to your health.
If you think the air in this picture looks bad, consider that the EPA says indoor air is often more polluted than even the largest and most industrialized cities.
How can this be? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
"In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors."
But while your exposure to air pollution outdoors is largely out of your control (unless you can relocate to an isolated island in some pristine locale), there are some steps you can take to improve the quality of your indoor air, and, therefore, your long-term health as well. Here are the top three tips.
1. Air Purification. According to many leading health organizations including the American Lung Association and the most respected health experts such as Dr. Morton Walker and Jordan Rubin, with the growing knowledge of air pollution in the home, it has become clear that every home needs an air purifier.
The Largely Unknown Key to Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean?
Waterhog Grand Premier Mats and Rugs
Every step you take into your home presents an opportunity for toxins to get in, and those toxins are circulated in the air you breathe. That's why The Waterhog Grand Premier Mats and Rugs, placed strategically around your home at entranceways and highly trafficked areas, are essential to keeping your home air clean!
These premier decorative mats and rugs:
- Keep Dirt and Liquids Beneath Shoe Level
- Dry Very Fast and Resist Corrosion
- Won't Slip
- Last Much Longer Than Other Mats
- Are Simple to Clean
- Are Attractive and Affordable
- Can be used Indoors or Outdoors
- Come in a Variety of Colors & Sizes
Learn Why You Should Avoid Other Mats, Why The Waterhog Grand Premier Mats are Superior!
2. Proper Cleaning. A significant amount of toxins in your indoor air may come from dirt and dust that, through everyday living, end up on almost every surface in your home. Cleaning these surfaces is therefore necessary to reduce the toxins in your air, as when you walk around you stir up that dirt and dust into the air you breathe.
However, if you use ordinary rags or mops, you will simply push dirt from one area to another--NOT pick it up and eliminate it like you intended. That's why we recommend PerfectClean mops, cloths and dusters to give your home a microscopic level of clean. Every item is built with PerfectClean's revolutionary ultramicrofiber construction that enables them to reach deep into microscopic crevices (NO other cleaning tool available even comes close!) and remove everything in their path: all forms of dirt, dust, hair, dander, and the biological contaminants too small to see with the naked eye.
That is because at an astonishing 3 microns, the ultramicrofibers are even smaller than most bacteria (each cleaning cloth contains over 300 miles of actual cleaning surface!)
Plus, PerfectClean cleaning tools can be used dry or dampened with only water (NO harsh chemical cleaners, another addition to toxic indoor air, are needed!) and can be used over 100 times before needing to be replaced, so they're incredibly economical and environmentally friendly.
3. Keep Dirt and Dust Out With the Right Mats. A few high-quality mats, placed strategically around your home (such as in doorways and other highly trafficked areas), will go a long way toward reducing the amount of dirt and dust in your home in the first place.
That's because a significant amount of the unsavory dirt in your home is tracked in from the outside (and most people don't take their shoes off at the door, which also helps). The right mats can, quite literally, trap this dirt at your door before it ever gets into your home. Sixwise.com highly recommends Waterhog Grand Premier Mats for this purpose, because, unlike other mats out there, Waterhogs have a distinctive "water-dam" border that traps soil and liquids in the mat so they don't drain or track onto your floors ... while vastly minimizing slipping. Plus, they have a unique ridged construction that effectively removes and traps dirt and moisture beneath shoe level, so contaminants are not tracked into the home.
It's important to avoid mats made from coir, sisal and other fibers--even cotton--because, although they may look nice, they do not retain dirt, dust or water very well, and can actually "kick up" dust into your home. This is the opposite of what a good mat should do. Plus, cotton mats retain moisture, which makes them ideal places for mold spores and germs to thrive.
Following these tips will help you to have cleaner indoor air for you and your family. To avoid the worst of outdoor air pollution, pay attention to the EPA's Air Quality Index, which comes out daily for most of the United States. It measures five of the worst outdoor air pollutants, ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
If air is less than ideal on a particular day in your area, try to stay indoors as much as possible (if you must go out, the early morning and after sunset are the best times to do it) and avoid exercising (which increases the amount of air you breathe in) and heavily trafficked areas.
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American Lung Association
The Karolinska Institute
Occupational and Environmental Medicine March 2005; 62(3):164-71
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Health and Air Quality