The air we breathe can severely impact our health. However, many of us don’t really think much about it until we spot noticeable changes, such as the Canadian wildfires that have been impacting the air quality in several parts of the United States.
The air we breathe is comprised of toxins and particulate matter (PM), which can be harmful to our health, even if the sky isn’t visibly orange.
Poor air quality could increase the risks of health concerns, including:
Air pollution increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to Guanyu Huang, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental and health sciences at Spelman College.
Exposure to air pollution may also lead to respiratory disease and short-term impacts such as:
- shortness of breath
Air pollution exposure can also lead to and exacerbate chronic concerns, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and lung cancer according to Healthline.
Speaking of cancer, lung cancer isn’t the only form of cancer associated with air pollution.
Long-term exposure is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, digestive cancers (such as stomach and liver), and laryngeal (throat) cancer.
Neurological, cognitive, and mental health
Air pollution can even impact our brain health.
Recent studies have connected extended air pollution exposure to dementia.
There are also effects on cognitive well-being. What’s more, exposure to pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide can increase the risk of