Health Advice For U


Air Pollution

Presence of pollutants in the air is called air pollution. These pollutants are poison for the human body and seriously damage the health.


The pollutants in the air are:

1.    Particulate Matter, divided as per size:

Ø  Particulate Matter 10: Gets trapped in the nose or windpipe and is exhaled through coughing.

Ø  Particulate Matter 2.5: These go down to the most peripheral parts of the lungs and gets deposited there. They induce several local reactions and release a large number of chemicals that go into the blood and reach every organ in the body through blood circulation.

Ø  Less than 1: Same as Particulate Matter 2.5

2.    Gaseous Substances: These consist of Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Oxide, Nitrogen Oxide, organic compounds, hydrocarbons, ozone and other substances. These are proven to be carcinogenic. They enter through to the lungs, get absorbed into the blood and cause damage throughout the body.


Sources of Air Pollution

Ø  Burning of fossil fuels

Ø  Automobile Exhaust

Ø  Burning of garbage and landfill

Ø  Smoke emitting industries

Ø  Coal fired power plants

Ø  Dust from construction sites

Ø  Dust from roadsides


Health Impact of Air Pollution

The worst affected are children, elderly and pregnant women.



Ø  Under-development of lungs and brain, pneumonia, cancers and premature deaths.

Ø  Under-development of cognitive abilities due to neuro-inflammation.

Ø  Premature hypertension.

Ø  Under-development of lung capacity


Pregnant Women:

Ø  Congenital defects

Ø  Low birth-weight babies

Ø  Death of child during pregnancy

Ø  Premature labour

Ø  Problems after birth


Reproductive System:

Adverse impact on reproductive system including low sperm counts.


All Ages:

Ø  Neuro-inflammation and 5-10 times higher incidence of brain strokes.

Ø  Redness, irritation, watering and infections of eyes.

Ø  Irritation and allergies of nose and sinusitis

Ø  Soreness of throat and throat infections

Ø  Hypertension

Ø  5-10 times higher incidence of heart-attacks.

Ø  Cough

Ø  Difficulty in breathing

Ø  Chest pain and tightness

Ø  Asthma

Ø  Chest infections

Ø  Pneumonia

Ø  Chronic Bronchitis

Ø  Chronic destructive pulmonary disease

Ø  Lung cancer


Precautions to be taken

Short Term:

Ø  Wearing masks of N95 or N99 grade worn snugly around the nose and mouth. However, people complain of feeling suffocated when worn for long time since the exhaled carbon dioxide is rebreathed. Gives protection only as long as it is worn.

Ø  People should develop the habit of turning off the engine when stuck in traffic. This ensures that at least for the limited time, emissions are in check.

Ø  Try to fill up fuel at night so that less fuel evaporates when you have your tank open.

Ø  Reduce car load. Take off things from the car which are not wanted during the trip.

Ø  Limit the use of candles and agarbattis, even if they are sold as herbal.

Ø  Vacuum clean your house thoroughly so as to get rid of dust.

Ø  Avoid hanging dry cleaned clothes in the closet. Instead, hang them in open air for a day or two before taking to the closet. The dry-cleaning entails use of Perchloroethylene, a liquid solvent which is a known carcinogen.

Ø  Use a good air purifier. Avoid those which emit formaldehyde or ozone which are also air pollutants.


Long Term:

1.    Decline in burning of fossil fuels and garbage and shift to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.

2.    En masse shift to public transport in order to control vehicular emissions.

3.    Reduction in the amount of municipal waste generated

4.    Better disposal of generated municipal waste


Conclusion: No matter how difficult the actions required to contain air pollution are, the cost of inaction is disease, disability and premature death.