It is not unusual for outdoor air pollution to come indoors by way of open windows,
doors, and ventilation. Indoor air pollution involves exposures to particulates, carbon
oxides, and other pollutants carried by indoor air or dust. Examples include
gases (e.g., carbon monoxide, radon, ozone); household products and chemicals;
building materials (e.g., asbestos, formaldehyde, lead); outdoor to indoor allergens
(e.g., cockroach and mouse droppings); tobacco smoke; mold; and pollen. When
we are aware of the health consequences of exposure, we can take action to avoid
exposure to many of these pollutants.
An estimated 85% of deaths from chronic respiratory disease are attributable to
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a leading cause of death in the
U.S.8 A study of the causes of chronic respiratory disease mortality among U.S.
counties between 1980 and 2014, found that differing incidence and care for asthma,
and differing exposure to tobacco, coal dust, asbestos and silica accounted for
much of the geographic and occupational variations in rates of death from COPD.9
A twenty-year study of lung function among children found that decreased smog
and other air pollution in the Los Angeles region brought about substantial improvements
in lung function.
The NIEHS-supported Harvard Six Cities Study, a large database on the health
effects of outdoor and indoor air pollution, found a strong association between exposure
to ozone, fine particles, and sulfur dioxide, and an increase in respiratory
symptoms, reduced lung capacity, and risk of early death. There is evidence that
even short term and low levels of particulate matter and ozone air pollution increase
the risk of death. A study among more than 60 million Medicare beneficiaries
found that every ten micrograms per cubic meter increase of fine particulates
smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) was associated with a 7.3% increase in mortality.
Each increase in 10 parts per billion of ozone was associated with a 1.1% increase
A study that included almost 60 million deaths from 652 cities in 24 countries found
that all-cause (nonaccidental), cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality was associated
with short-term exposures to both PM10 and PM2.5 particulates. The difference
in mortality between the best air quality and the worst observed was estimated
to be up to 6%.
People living in some places may find it difficult to avoid the adverse health effects
of air pollution. Indoor air pollution from mold, building materials, furniture,
paints, varnishes, cleaning supplies, and other chemicals may be easier to avoid.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.