Air pollution: What you should know about this silent threat

Millions of people die every year worldwide due to air pollution and the diseases it causes. In fact, the particulates floating around in the air we breathe have not only been associated with asthma and lung diseases but also diabetes and heart attack.

Research shows that in the U.S. alone 50,000 people will die this year due to one particular type of air pollution, a silent killer known as PM2.5.

I’m not telling you this to give you one more thing to worry about — but to share some insight on how you might protect yourself…

No safe level

There are different types of air pollution and they are categorized often by size.

They are made up of particulates — atmospheric aerosol particles or particulate matter (PM). Sources of these particulates can be natural or man-made chemicals.

PM2.5 is so fine you never even know you’re inhaling it. And that’s why it’s particularly deadly.

Its small size means that billions upon billions of them could fit inside a single red blood cell. This means it can slip deep into your bloodstream, your lungs and other organs, leading to respiratory disease, heart attack and death.

PM2.5 is responsible for killing more people across the world than any other type of pollution. That’s a big statement considering that the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies all particulates as Group 1 carcinogens.

Research has shown that there are no safe levels of PM2.5. A  2013 study involving over 300,000 people found that for every per 10 μg/m3 increase in levels of PM2.5 in the air, the incidence of lung cancer went up by 36 percent.

As Yevgen Nazarenko, a Research Associate at McGill University who recently studied the particulate puts it, “We adopted unprecedented measures to protect people from COVID-19, yet we don’t do enough to avoid the millions of preventable deaths caused by air pollution every year.”

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Start protecting yourself from PM2.5 now

The good news is that despite how pervasive and deadly PM2.5 is, you can protect yourself:

  1. Take B vitamins

A ground-breaking study discovered that people who took B vitamins actually reversed the negative health effect of air pollution on their heart and immune system. The per-day intake of vitamins used in the study were:

2.5 mg of folic acid

50 mg of vitamin B6

1 mg of vitamin B12

2. Add antioxidants

Air pollution releases free radicals in your body which can lead to disease. Increase your antioxidant intake using food sources like berries, green tea and leafy veggies.

3. Avoid air pollution whenever possible

Don’t spend time outside when air pollution levels are high and when possible, avoid sitting in heavy traffic.

4. Consider indoor sources of pollution

Flame-retardant fabrics and the chemicals used in everything from mattresses and sofas to carpeting can increase your pollution exposure. Your couch may be the biggest piece of furniture adding toxins to your indoor air.

Use these easy tips to help keep air pollution’s deadliest particulate from stealing your health and your life.

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Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution — EPA

Air pollution: The silent killer called PM2.5 — McGill



Outdoor Particulate Matter Exposure and Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Environmental Health Perspectives

Revealed: UK government failing to tackle rise of serious air pollutant — The Guardian

Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter (PM) — EPA

Air pollution and lung cancer incidence in 17 European cohorts: prospective analyses from the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) — THE LANCET ONCOLOGY

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.