5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air You Breathe
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1. If you live in a large city, your lungs are likely not as pink as you think they are.
Many of you may already know (or can safely guess) that living in a city will be harder on your lungs. But by how much? What you may not realize is the amount of pollution that we’re actually breathing in from living in a large city. As an example, take a look at the following pictures: One is a smoker’s lung, the other is a non-smoking city dweller’s lungs. Can you guess which is which?
The picture on the right is a smoker’s lung, and the picture on the left is a non-smoker’s lung from Sydney, Australia. Of course, smoking is much, much worse for you, but those who have lived in a large polluted city for many years will have lungs looking similar to a smoker’s lungs.
2. You’re currently breathing molecules of air once breathed by the historical Jesus, Caesar, Lincoln (insert any famous historical figure here).
Now, I’m not a mathematician, but calculations done by people much smarter than I have proven conclusively, that given enough time to propagate throughout the Earth, the molecules of air breathed in by any historical figure has now been evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere. Even without doing the math, one may surmise that given the sheer number of molecules taken into the lungs with every breath (remember from chemistry class that 1 mole of gas contains 6.02 x 1022 molecules), there is a significant statistical probability that at least one of those molecules breathed by Abraham Lincoln is currently in your lungs.
You are currently breathing in this man’s air molecules.
If you wish to check out the math yourself, look here.
3. PM2.5 is small enough to reach your blood stream.
There are two major types of air pollution that you should be aware of: PM2.5 and PM10. PM10 generally consists of larger particulate matter that can cause asthma attacks or other respiratory problems. PM2.5, on the other hand, is tiny enough to pass through your lungs and straight into your bloodstream. This is why while the problems with PM10 are largely associated with respiratory issues, and the problems with PM2.5 can consist of anything from stroke to heart attacks.
PM2.5 can wreak havoc throughout your body as it is small enough to pass through the areolae in the lungs and into the bloodstream.
4. Pollution from China affects US weather.
This is a picture of Beijing on one of its worst days of pollution
Yes, you read that correctly. The pollution that flows out from China is a part of the reason the US has been getting erratic weather. Storms that develop in Asia and move across the Pacific Ocean into the USA are tainted with pollution, which affects the strength of the storm, density of the clouds, and amount of rainfall.
5. Excess air pollution causes premature aging.
As you get older, you will naturally develop wrinkles as your skin naturally loses its elasticity and moisture. However, in urban areas with high amounts of air pollution, this natural process is accelerated. Toxins in the air are absorbed through the skin, causing damage along the way, which causes wrinkles. In addition, your pores can get clogged, causing acne.
This is a depiction of the amount of aging that may happen to a person living in a polluted environment.
Are you sure that you're breathing in clean air at home? You should never underestimate the effects of air pollution, as the information in numbers 1, 3, and 5 show. There may not be many noticeable problems in the short term, but over time, it can be a serious detriment to your health. So make sure you're breathing in clean air with an air purifier in your home.
Clair air purifiers. Clean air. All day. Every day.