Every year, particulate matter from air pollution causes 7 million deaths across the globe. The smaller the particle size, the greater the danger it poses to individuals. The most detrimental pollutants are the fine PM2.5 particles that can infiltrate the lung passageways and the bloodstream.
Exposure to these particles causes a plethora of health hazards including non-fatal heart attacks, aggravated asthma, irregular heartbeat, a decline in lung functioning, and worsening respiratory symptoms. The group of the population that gets affected the most includes children, individuals with existing lung and heart conditions, and older adults. Read on to understand how submicron particles can leave dangerous health impacts and what you can do to keep yourself protected.
Epidemiological studies show a direct link between air pollution and cardiovascular diseases. According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, air pollution caused 19% of all deaths resulting from cardiovascular diseases. Problems like coronary artery disease and elevated blood glucose levels can also be caused by excessive PM2.5 exposure.
Exposure to PM2.0 particles leads to stroke mortality. The particulate matter mainly associated with an increased risk of stroke includes nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. Both ischemic and cardioembolic stroke types take form when PM2.0 pollutants start to accumulate inside the body.
The central nervous system is highly vulnerable to air pollution. Conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism, for instance, can be exacerbated due to emissions from traffic. Air pollution is also known to worsen existing neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases among the older population. The other neurological diseases associated with these pollutants include white matter injury, dementia, and cognitive impairment.
Inhalation of the outdoor air is directly linked with crippling the respiratory system. Classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), air pollution is one of the primary reasons for lung cancer. Chronic exposure to these pollutants can also be the root cause of conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Spreading its dangerous effects further, air pollution can cause multiple health issues among pregnant women including bronchitis and lower neurological development.
How to Keep Yourself Protected from Harmful Particulate Matter?
Sources like coal-fired power plants and smoke from vehicles, among many others, emit a high concentration of particulate matter. Particulate matter with a diameter less than 10 μm (PM1.0) can be harmful because they seep and accumulate inside your respiratory system. PM2.5 particles, on the other hand, can pose dangerously higher health risks.
Staying indoors seems to be the only way to limit your exposure to submicron particles. However, stepping outdoors is inevitable and even important for many. With the concentration of pollutants in the air constantly on the rise, the best approach towards protecting yourself would be to use reliable high-filtration face masks.
At AusAir, our face masks are designed to filter out more than 99% particulate matter (including the finer PM2.5 and PM0.1 particles) so you can step outside without the burden of any health risks.