Harmful Effects of Air Pollution – How Does Your Air-fare?

 air pollution - worst cities - solutions

Breathing clean air is no longer a guarantee in the United States.  Many of our most populated metropolitan areas, as well as some surprisingly less populated regions are considered to have unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution. According to the American Lung Association, 131.8 million people live in an area that gets an “F” rating on air quality.  Major health risks such as asthma, heart attack, lung cancer, overall cardiovascular health, low birth weight, infant mortality and even premature death have all been linked to breathing polluted air.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to air pollution. Combustion engine vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses and jet airplanes produce toxic exhaust which creates smog and holes in the ozone layer. Factories, power plants, office buildings and personal residences also contribute to smog by burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal.  Other contributing factors can include pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and dust from fertilizers.

So, how does your air fare?

Top 5 U.S. Cities* – Highest Levels of Air Pollution:

  1. Bakersfield, CA
  2. Hanford-Corcoran, CA
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Visalia-Porterville, CA
  5. Fresno-Madera, CA

Cities in the Midwest such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Louisville round out the top 10, so you can see that air pollution reaches from coast to coast in the United States.

Top 5 U.S. Cities* – Cleanest Air:

  1. Cheyenne, WY
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Bismarck, ND
  4. Great Falls, MT
  5. Honolulu, HI

If you are not lucky enough to live in a region with the cleanest air quality, there are steps you can take to improve your own personal space.

  • Walk or bike when possible. If not, use public transportation or car pool.
  • Choose fuel efficient, low-polluting vehicles
  • Consider replacing old wood burning stoves with new energy saving EPA certified models. Buy Energy Star (environmentally friendly) products for lighting and appliances.
  • Invest in a quality furnace filter, to capture debris, dust, and more from your air and make sure to change your home’s air filters on a regular basis as recommended by the manufacturer.

 

To fill all of your air filtration needs, please visit http://www.filtersfast.com/

 * The American Lung Association State of the Air 2012 report

Dangerous Air Quality: Air Pollution Health Effects

air-pullution

Poor air quality is a concern. Did you know that, on average, we breathe in 3,000 gallons of air each day? Throughout the day, you are breathing in tiny particles (invisible to the naked eye), without being aware of it. Have you ever stopped to think what these tiny particles are that you’re breathing in? Unfortunately due to negative air pollution health effects, we are confronted with the probability that we are hurting our overall health just by doing a simple (yet vital) task.

Air pollution can damage plants, trees, crops and lakes. It can also damage your body. Below are just some of the effects of air pollution as related to our overall health.

  • Irritation of the throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory problems (especially for those with asthma)
  • Burning in the nose and eyes

 

Perhaps most frightening is that we are not just susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution while we are outside, but also while we are in the comforts of our own homes. In fact, indoor air quality is one of the top five risks to public health according to the EPA. Perhaps even more alarming is that 87% of American homeowners are not aware that the pollution outside may not be as bad as the pollution inside (this according to dosomething.org).

The reasons for this can vary from a lack of filtration to inadequate ventilation. Being a company that specializes on filtration, we naturally tend to focus on this part of the issue. However, this can make a huge difference. While you may not be able to make an immediate impact on air pollution on a national or even global scale (due to various laws, regulations, etc.) you can make an immediate impact on the air quality in your own home. Furnace filters capture debris, dust, and more from your air which improves your overall air quality. Beyond that however, failure to regularly replace furnace filters is generally the number one cause of furnace repairs. In addition, since your motor and furnace fan will have to work harder to push air through a clogged filter, your system consumes more energy to compensate causing you to spend more on your next bill.

You don’t have to deal with poor air quality at home. A furnace filter, and remembering to regularly replace it, can leave you breathing in fresh air.

Staying Healthy and Active: Tips from a Triathlete

Greg Shore - Triathelete

Greg Shore is more than just an employee at FiltersFast.com. At the age of 25, he’s competed in swimming events, biking races and so much more. He’s a winner of two events this year alone and will be representing the United States in the upcoming London Triathlon World Championship on September 11, 2013. This is what he has a passion for in life and how he’s made living healthy and staying active a normal part of his everyday routine. Greg recently shared some awesome tips for staying healthy and active and now I’m passing these tips along to you.

Watch what you drink and eat

Avoid sugary drinks like sodas. Avoid unhealthy, fatty, and greasy foods. They will not do anything positive for your health. While it is always recommended to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, make sure the water that you are drinking is filtered. Whether it’s coming from your home refrigerator or a water bottle, it is important to have filtered water on hand at all times. Even if you live an on-the-go lifestyle, then filtered water is still possible. “Filtered water bottles are definitely my favorite,” says Greg. “Fill it up and when you drink it, it’s filtered.”

Don’t Overlook the Little Things                      

“It’s the little things you do that can make you a better athlete and a more healthy and active person.”-Greg Shore

Although drinking filtered water is a big part of living a healthy and active lifestyle, it is often the little things that can make a big difference. How so? Whether you’re training to run a triathlon or busy working, raising kids, etc., even the most minor of setbacks can throw you off quite a bit. While some setbacks are unavoidable, some health-related setbacks can be avoided by taking better care of our bodies. Beyond eating and drinking healthier, there are a few things Greg does to avoid health setbacks in his life that can easily be applied in your own life as well.

To prevent getting sick, Greg uses humidifiers (The Vicks Ultrasonic Humidifier) and air purifiers (the Holmes Mini Air Purifier) on a regular basis. The Holmes air purifier cleanses the air in his home (thereby preventing him from breathing in any airborne allergens such as dust mites, pollen, etc.) while the Vicks Ultrasonic humidifier is invaluable for cough and cold relief, sinus issues and much more.

Greg1 Edited

Stay Determined. Don’t Give Up

Living a healthy and active lifestyle is bound to get difficult at times, especially if you’re just starting out. But Greg says if you stick with it, the benefits will far outweigh anything else. “We make work a priority in our lives. It should be like that when it comes to some sort of exercise. You work for a living, and to live you need to have some form of physical activity.” As a person who works a full-time job, Greg knows that juggling work, home responsibilities and more can often come into direct conflict with working out on a regular basis. To combat this, set up a regular workout routine either before work, during lunch breaks, or after work. Once you set up a schedule that works best for you, don’t stray from it.  If you’re a beginner at exercise, try something simple. “Walk every other day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for 30 minutes, and walk the elliptical on Tuesday and Thursday for 30 minutes. Then take the weekend off.” As you stick with the simple exercise routine, you can then progress from there to more strenuous activities (such as walking for 1 hour three days out of the week).

The overall importance of staying healthy

Living a healthy and active lifestyle does more than just benefit your health. It allows you to keep doing the things you love and continue to be there for the ones you love. Using water and air filtration to help you avoid setbacks can prove invaluable in the long run whether you’re training as a triathlete or just exercising for greater personal satisfaction.

FiltersFast.com is proud to sponsor Greg Shore in the London Triathlon World Championship from September 11- 15, 2013. On Wednesday September 11, he will participate in the Aquathon World Championship (1500m swim/10K run). He will then compete in the Sprint Triathlon World Championship (750m swim/12.5 mile bike/3.1 mile run) on Friday September 13. Longtime readers of The Filtered Files will recognize him from previous videos he has starred in, such as the one below. Be sure to LIKE Shore to Shore: Greg’s Trek to London for updates on his progress in London, blogs, photos, videos and much more!