In the past decade, the recorded cases of asthma have increased exponentially. While studies are being done to connect this increase to diet and allergies among other things, it's safe to assume that it could be, at least in part, due to our increasingly poor air quality.
A new NASA world map released in September of 2013 compares data from over 150 years to show an increasingly "browning" world, with dark patches of toxic air concentrated mostly over the United States, Europe, China and India, the centers of the industry.
According to NASA's Earth Observatory website: "In most cases, the most toxic pollution lingers for a few days or even weeks, bringing increases in respiratory and cardiac health problems at hospitals. Eventually the weather breaks, the air clears, and memories of foul air begin to fade. But that's not to say that the health risks disappear as well. Even slightly elevated levels of air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. Over long periods and on a global scale, such impacts can add up."
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some 2.1 million deaths per year result from just one particular form of atmospheric pollution: fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, which is emitted in car exhaust and smokestack effluent and other industrial sources of pollutants.
In addition to measuring increasing outdoor air quality with satellite imagery, NASA has researched methods of cleansing the atmosphere in future space stations to keep them fit for human habitation. In their research, NASA found that many common houseplants fight pollution indoors. These common household plants remove significant amounts of harmful gases out of the air, through the everyday processes of photosynthesis. Some pollutants are neutralized in the plant's soil.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that people spend 90% of their time indoors, but that indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and in some studies, more than 100 times more. According to a study by the California EPA, adults and children breathe between 10,000 and 70,000 liters of air every 24 hours. As stated by
WebMD, indoor air pollution is one of the most serious environmental threats to your health, yet no agency can regulate it, and few studies have been done about its effects on your health.
The EPA estimates people spend 90% of their time indoors, but indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than outside air.
more disturbing was the fact that they detected 120 chemicals they couldn't even identify.
It's clear that our air quality is getting worse. Results from recent studies are making that clear. So, look for options to make positive changes in the air quality in your home.
In their publication, The Daily Green. the American Lung Association offers 25 tips on how to keep the air in your home healthy.