7 Health Effects Of Poor Air Quality

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Air quality is a growing concern globally. Studies show direct links between air pollutants to lower life expectancy and respiratory and heart disease development. Understand how you can avoid the adverse effects of air pollution through IoT monitoring. 


Indoor air quality is constantly under threat from outside pollutants. And many are unaware of the risks and health effects of poor air quality. Wildfires, humidity, construction dust, bacteria pollen, and pet hair are only a few sources of air pollution that lower indoor air quality, whether at your office or home. 

Over a hundred million Americans already live in areas with hazardous air conditions, and sadly, levels of air pollution are rising. Research shows that poor indoor air conditions take a massive toll on human health. This reality makes it vital for building managers to ensure clean indoor air quality. 

Unfortunately, the health effects of poor air quality are often unrecognized. To understand how air quality might directly affect human health, it's essential to track the right metrics to gain insight into a building's air quality, and these metrics must be checked constantly

Ultimately, indoor air pollution occurs because of inadequate filtration and a lack of comprehensive IoT monitoring that tracks levels of particulate pollution, humidity, carbon monoxide, and other airborne hazards. 

To protect occupants, building managers must keep strict indoor air quality standards. Without this, occupants face adverse health effects, even from small levels of air pollution. Below are seven harmful effects that result from high air pollution levels.   

1. Aggravation of Asthma and Respiratory Conditions

Outdoor pollutants are a significant source of asthma attacks. Many typical air pollutants could trigger an asthma attack, such as:

  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mites
  • Sulfites
  • Cockroach allergens
  • Tobacco smoke

These particles create dangerous environments for asthmatics and those with respiratory conditions. Such pollutants irritate the lining of the lungs and esophagus, resulting in the muscles swelling and tightening as they try to defend against the pollutants. Some studies link the presence of air pollutants to the development of prenatal and early childhood-stage asthma. 

2. Increased Risk of Respiratory Infections and Lung Diseases

If there's one main organ that's under threat from air pollution, it's the lungs. When exposed to enough dangerous pollutants, the likelihood of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases significantly. This respiratory disease obstructs airflow to the lungs and increases the risk of lung cancer. 

Even if exposed to dangerous particulate matter for a short period, people with preexisting respiratory diseases can experience excessive coughing, phlegm, irritation in the throat, and difficulty breathing. 

3. Impact on Heart Health and Increased Heart Attack Risk

Heart disease is already the leading cause of death among Americans, and air pollution poses additional threats to heart health. When particulate matter is small enough in diameter, it can seep through the lungs and into the bloodstream. These effects cause both immediate reactions and long-term cardiovascular diseases. 

Mainly, exposure to air pollution affects those with preexisting cardiac disease. Once present in the bloodstream, the pollutants can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the likelihood of heart attacks. Likewise, certain pollutants cause heart inflammation, leading to serious chronic heart issues. 

Many serious heart conditions are intensified by air pollutants, including: 

  • Stroke
  • Heart attacks
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure

Chronic Health Conditions and Reduced Life Expectancy - Attune

4. Chronic Health Conditions and Reduced Life Expectancy

A study by the University of Chicago shows how air pollutants decrease life expectancies by almost two years. This is a greater detractor to life expectancy than smoking, vehicular accidents, and war.

Air pollution exacerbates existing health conditions and damages the body's ability to block the onslaught of harmful particulates. Over time, this reduces life expectancy, especially when people are unaware that the air is full of harmful debris, whether inorganic or organic matter. 

5. Impaired Cognitive Function and Neurological Disorders

The decline in cognitive function from air pollution is prevalent among the elderly and those with existing mental disorders, but it also affects all ages. Pollutants, after entering the bloodstream through the lungs, block blood vessels from reaching the brain. When this occurs, cognitive ability declines. 

There is an added risk of air pollution for those with existing neurological disorders, as air pollution is linked to enhancing levels of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

6. Effects on Children's Neurodevelopment

As more studies show the effects of particulate pollution, one major health concern is childhood development in the early years. There is substantial evidence that indoor air pollution negatively affects early childhood development. These effects can impede the following areas of neurodevelopment:

  • Memory and learning
  • Attention and executive functions
  • Verbal language
  • Numeric ability 
  • Motor functions

These negative effects appear most commonly in preschool and school-aged children, but they can also occur in prenatal stages. Studies show that children who attend schools with high pollution show lower cognitive outcomes than those with clean indoor air. 

7. Eye Irritation and Allergic Reactions

One of the first signs of poor air quality is irritation in the eyes, throat, and nose. The reason is that when the body comes into contact with foreign substances, it inflames itself as a protection mechanism.

Allergic reactions to indoor air pollutants are more likely to occur when buildings fail to filter air conditioning or furnaces properly. So, if eye irritation or allergic reactions are happening for some unknown reason, check on the air quality within your building or home immediately. Because these reactions likely indicate the presence of harmful airborne matter. 

Promote Health With an IAQ Monitoring Solution

Exposure to common air pollutants is no light matter. Because of this, building owners must understand how to monitor indoor air quality and the best practices for responsibly tracking pollution in their buildings. The best way to do this is through a robust system of air quality sensors.

Attine's IoT monitoring platform is a best-in-class solution. It tracks and alerts managers to indoor air quality threats before they become severe health concerns. Visit our site today to schedule a demo and learn more about how Attune IoT sensors can protect your health. 

Book a Demo here!

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