Microscopic air particles are all around us, and some of them can be deadly. Find out which are the ones you should beware of.
Do you know that we breath up to 40,000 times a day? That is almost 28 times per minute! But as nations become more and more industrialized and populated, the air that we depend on is also becoming more and more polluted. Rural areas which were once haven of fresh air are also increasingly tainted with air pollutants.
Recently in Paris, France the urban center of the city was so polluted the city government asked public transportation services to stop running to reduce the amount of toxic emissions in the air. These incidents in large cities around the world are a serious cause for concern. Partners in informing the general public in France like Masque Anti-Pollution are helping citizens understand the types of protection available to them during extended periods of acute air pollution.
Find out what are some of the common toxic pollutants that we come in contact with regularly and take steps to protect yourself today:
1. Radioactive Gas
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soils, rock, water, as well as homes, schools, and office buildings. It is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking. In the United States, some 20,000 lung cancer deaths are due to radon each year. EPA estimated that 1 in 15 homes in America has radon concentration that exceeds safety level.
2. Heavy Metals in the Air
When most people talk about lead contamination, they only associate it with the water we drink. However, lead can also exist in the air we breathe. Because dust picks up the heavy metal from peeling lead-based paint on toys, furniture and other household products. That is why lead dust is one of the common ways in which children get lead poisoned. Kids are also most susceptible to the brain damaging effects of lead due to their immature immune system.
3. Poisonous Combustion Byproduct
If you use a gas stove or kerosene heater, or live near to a power plant, the levels of nitrogen dioxide built up in your home is likely to be high. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is formed during most combustion and it is an eyes, nose, throat and lungs irritant. Long-term exposure to NO2 has been known to aggravate asthma and cause respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis.
4. Colorless, Odorless and Tasteless Killers
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic gas that can disrupt the ability of red blood cells in the body to carry oxygen, resulting in death even in relatively low levels. Sources of CO at homes include attached garages where cars are left running, roads during peak hours, malfunctioned fuel-burning appliances, as well as fireplaces.
5. Gases from Office Equipment
Do you know that common office equipments and stationery like copiers, printers, correction fluids, glues and adhesives emit volatile gases that may be harmful to your health? This is because chemicals which are used to make these handy stuff are released as organic gases that we eventually end up breathing. Possible health effects for prolonged exposure to organic volatile compounds include nausea, headaches and damages to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system.
6. Greenhouse Gas
When nitrogen oxides meet volatile organic compounds and sunlight, ozone is created. If you think more ozone is good because of our depleting atmospheric ozone layer, think again. This low-level ozone is different from the one that is 20 miles from earth’s surface. Ground-level ozone stings the eyes, inflames the airways and harms the lungs. A study found that people living in cities with higher ozone levels had a 30% higher risk of dying from lung disease.
7. Toxic Pesticide Fumes
Before reaching for a can of pesticide to terminate household pests, think of your life first. Pesticides don’t just kill insects, they also end up poisoning all living things. One way is through microscopic droplets of pesticide which are small and light enough to float in the air. We eventually breathe these toxic chemicals into our lungs and kill ourselves slowly without ever knowing why.