How does air pollution affect our health?

Air pollution seems to cause or contribute to a number of health conditions. The effects of air pollution on a person’s health can range from mild breathing problems to severe heart problems like heart disease and stroke. Harmful gases and particles in the air come from a variety of places, such as the exhaust fumes from cars, smoke from burning coal or gas, and tobacco smoke. There are ways to limit the effects of air pollution on health, such as by avoiding areas with a lot of traffic. However, big changes will only happen if the air quality around the world gets better.

In this article, we talk about how air pollution can affect a person’s health.

What’s air pollution?

air pollution

Air pollution is made up of small particles that can come from nature or from humans. Due to the variety of things that can pollute the air, pollution can affect people both outside and inside.

Outdoor air pollution is made up of:

causes of air pollution
  • particles from burning coal and gas.
  • harmful gases like nitrogen oxides or Sulphur dioxide
  • tobacco smoke
  • ground-level ozone

Indoor air pollution is:

  • Household chemicals,
  • such as carbon monoxide or radon
  • building materials, such as lead or asbestos, and pollen.
  • Mould tobacco smoke
  • pollution by plastic

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the pollutants that pose the biggest risk to a person’s health are:

particulate matter (particle pollutants), which comprises suspended solids and liquid droplets of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone.

Effect of Air pollution on human health

effect of air pollution on human health
  • Short-term exposure to air pollution, such as ground-level ozone, can affect the respiratory system because most of the pollutants enter the body through the airways.
  • Short-term exposure to air pollution can lead to respiratory infections and decreased lung function.
  • It may also make asthma worse in people who have it.
  • Sulfur dioxide can hurt the eyes and lungs, as well as irritate the skin.

A long-term exposure

Ongoing research is being done on the long-term health problems that air pollution can cause. Research has linked air pollution to serious health problems, bad birth outcomes, and even death before its time.

  • COPD means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be caused by breathing in particles that are polluted with chemicals (COPD).
  • According to the WHO, air pollution causes 43% of COPD cases and deaths around the world. COPD is a group of diseases that cause breathing problems, like emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • These diseases block the airways and make it hard for a person to breathe.
  • There is no cure for COPD, but treatment can help reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life.

Having lung cancer

WHO says that air pollution is the cause of 29% of all lung cancer cases and deaths. Particle pollutants are likely to contribute a lot to this number, as their small size lets them get to the lower respiratory tract.

Cardiovascular disease

Research shows that living in a place with more air pollution may make you more likely to die from a stroke. Strokes and heart attacks can be caused by bad air quality.

A 2018 review says that the Global Burden of Disease Study found that air pollution was responsible for 19% of cardiovascular deaths in 2015. It was also the cause of about 21% of deaths from stroke and 24% of deaths from coronary heart disease.

Preterm delivery

According to research that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, breathing polluted air can make it more likely for pregnant women to give birth early. The researchers found that the chance of having a baby early went down as the amount of exposure went down.

Effects on health from specific pollutants

According to research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, outdoor air pollution is a carcinogen, which means it may cause cancer.

Polluted air is made up of different particles and chemicals, and each of these has a different effect on health.

  1. Particle pollutants
    Particle pollutants are a mix of different particles in the air. Due to the small size of these particles, they can get into the lungs and increase the risk of lung and heart disease. They may also make asthma symptoms worse in people who have them.
  2. Ground-level ozone
    Pollutants react with sunlight to make ground-level ozone. Smog is mostly made up of ozone, which is a key cause of asthma symptoms.
  3. Carbon monoxide
    According to a 2016 article from , carbon monoxide levels below 2% don’t seem to hurt people’s health. But if the levels are higher than 40%, carbon monoxide may be fatal.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • headache
  • If someone thinks they have carbon monoxide poisoning, they should move to an area with fresh air and get medical help right away.

5.Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, like coal and oil. It can irritate the eyes and make a person more likely to get respiratory tract infections and heart disease. 6.Nitrogen dioxide
Nitrogen dioxide is present in vehicle exhaust emissions. Gas and kerosene heaters and stoves also release a lot of this gas. People who breathe in nitrogen dioxide may get respiratory infections. Inhaling nitrogen dioxide usually causes wheezing or coughing, but it can also cause headaches, throat irritation, chest pain, and fever.

How can we reduce air pollution?

People can reduce their exposure to air pollutants by limiting how much time they spend in places with bad air quality. It’s important to be aware of possible air pollutants both outdoors and indoors.

Outdoor air pollution

  • Governments, businesses, and individuals can all help reduce air pollution.
  • cars emit less pollution and there are less pollutants in the air, the air quality may get better.
  • A person can also use the Air Now website to find out how good the air is right now. This government service checks the air quality across the United States. The site gives information about the levels of pollution in the air, which it color-codes according to how they might affect health.
  • When the rating is orange or above, people can help protect their health by:
  • avoiding walking beside busy roads
  • Less time spent exercising outside or using an indoor venue is better than staying indoors until the air quality improves.

Inside air pollution

A person can reduce indoor air pollution by making sure buildings are clean and have enough air flow.

  • Dust, mold, and pollen can all cause breathing problems.
  • Radon gas can build up in houses that were built on uranium-rich land.
  • Radon gas can cause lung cancer.
  • A radon test kit can be used to check for radon in a home. Or they can hire a professional to take this measurement for them.

Radon test kits are available in stores and online.

  • A person can use a carbon monoxide detector to check how much carbon monoxide is in their home or workplace.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are available in stores and online.
  • Air pollution can be bad for a person’s health. It could lead to respiratory and heart problems.
  • A person can lower their risk of health problems by checking the air quality in their area and being aware of any existing health conditions.
  • Carbon monoxide can be fatal. If a person thinks they have carbon monoxide poisoning, they should get out into fresh air and get medical help right away.


  • Air pollution can be bad for one’s health. Cardiovascular and respiratory problems could result from it.
  • By monitoring the air quality in their immediate surroundings and being aware of any pre-existing medical conditions, a person can lessen the likelihood of experiencing health issues.
  • Carbon monoxide can be deadly. When someone suspects they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, they should immediately seek medical attention and get some fresh air.

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