Air quality is an important part of daily life that we don’t tend to think of very often.
For many people living in third world countries and heavily industrialized nations, poor air quality is just a way of life. Masks are required at all times when outdoors because of the threat to human health that the outdoor air presents.
In many parts of the country, wildfires have given residents in the United States a glimpse into what it’s like to live with substandard air quality.
The wildfires are temporary, but what harmful environmental pollutants are lurking in the air year-round?
We often forget that there are particles of dust, dirt, and other harmful pollutants that are always present.
So what are the top offenders that are harmful to human health that are always present in the environment and how can we combat the damage that these unwelcome invaders could inflict?
What Is In The Air That We Breathe?
According to the American Lung Association, there are currently 187 pollutants that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has labeled as hazardous to human health.
The American Lung Association (ALA) also states that there are more than just the 187 pollutants that can be dangerous for humans.
So what are these pollutants and where are they coming from?
Some of the top pollutants that are present in the United States are:
- Gases, like hydrogen chloride, benzene or toluene, or dioxin
- Compounds like asbestos
- Elements such as cadmium, mercury, and chromium
Where Are The Airborne Pollutants Coming From?
Airborne pollutants are found in higher concentrations near facilities like coal-fired power plants, refineries, and other large industrial production sites.
Cars are also a source of airborne pollution. Living near major roadways or freeways reduces air quality significantly.
It’s not just outdoor air quality that we’ve got to be concerned with either. Indoor air quality can be affected by indoor pollutants like tobacco smoke, mold, and asbestos.
How To Know Where Pollutants Are Hiding
The fact that most of these pollutants are unseen to the naked eye is another area of concern.
Humans are visual and seeing a clear cut layer of smoke that makes it hard to breathe is something we can all understand. Once the dangers are not visible, we’re harder to persuade.
According to the ALA, the pollutants that are in the air that we breathe also settle in the waterways, streams, lakes, and other freshwater supplies.
And if the pollutants are in the water, they’re also in the food that is grown with that water and the animals that eat the feed and drink the water too.
If it’s in the air, then it’s everywhere.
Illnesses Associated With Air Pollution
These pollutants pose terrible threats to human health and the health of the environment.
Airborne pollutants have been linked to these illnesses:
- Cancer, including lung, kidney, bone, stomach
- Harm to the nervous system and brain
- Birth defects
- Irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat
- Coughing and wheezing
- Impaired lung function
- Harm to the cardiovascular system
- Reduced fertility
How To Combat Air Pollution
It’s clear that there are no upsides for humans to be breathing in harmful pollutants in the air.
So how can we try to mitigate the threat that poor air quality poses to our health?
Here are a few tips for how you can reduce your exposure to unhealthy air:
- Check daily air pollution forecasts for your community - you can find information on air quality on most weather tracking sites
- Avoid spending time outdoors when air pollution levels are high
- Avoid exercising in areas that are high-traffic - pollution from cars has been noted to elevate levels of pollution up to one-third of a mile away
- Don’t allow smoking indoors
- Don’t burn trash or wood - burning these contributes to major sources of soot pollution in many regions of the country
How To Reduce Harm Already Caused By Air Pollution
An effective method of toxin removal is by boosting your glutathione levels. Glutathione is a key component in the liver in detoxification reactions.
In addition to the role in liver detoxification, glutathione also is important to antioxidant systems within cells.
The supplement is so effective at removing toxins from the body that it's used in hospital settings to treat acute poisoning and chronic liver disease. Doctors will administer glutathione through IVs to treat patients who are in need of heavy and fast detoxing.
Glutathione is a water-soluble supplement meaning that it dissolves in water. This makes it harder for your body to absorb. Much of traditional glutathione supplements aren’t absorbed and are excreted as waste.
For years researchers have been using liposomes to deliver potent doses of life-saving cancer treatment drugs to patients. Liposomes act as a protective barrier between harsh stomach acids that can break down supplements and drugs before they’re able to be absorbed by the body.
By preserving more of the supplement from being destroyed in the digestive process, more of the supplement is able to be absorbed.