After a summer of record-setting wildfire smoke making its way to many US cities from Canada, air pollution is more of a topic than ever. This past June and July, New York and Chicago saw more dangerous air days than in the past 23 years. And, unfortunately, the rest of the country isn’t exactly breathing easy either. Here are the facts, and what you can do to keep your family safe.
In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was created, and the Clean Air Act was established. Neither of these things was without controversy, however, they did initiate a period of 50 years where the US saw a 78% drop in six common air pollutants. Those pollutants being carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone, particle pollution or particulate matter, and sulfur oxides.
However, starting in 2016, in states including California, Washington, Texas, Illinois, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and elsewhere, a particulate matter by the name of PM2.5 started to rise due to wildfires.
The Summer of 2023
Fast forward to 2023, the Canadian wildfire smoke drift created extensive exposure to PM2.5 particles for many US communities. These particles increase health risks including heart and respiratory disease, and premature death.
And these fires started just weeks after the American Lung Association reported that 119 Americans or 1 in 4 people were already living with air pollution that could hurt their health and shorten their lives.
What It Is, What It Does
Particle pollution is a mix of solids and liquids composed of dirt, dust, soot, or smoke. It is created by power plants, cars, agriculture, unpaved roads, construction sites – and wildfires.
Often invisible to the naked eye at 1/20th the width of a human hair, your body cannot defend against it. Once inhaled, it is not easily exhaled. Instead, it can go into the bloodstream or get stuck in the lungs.
The result can include irritation, inflammation, respiratory problems, cancer, stroke, and heart attack. Those with asthma are easily aggravated by particle pollution. And studies now link particle pollution with a higher risk of depression and anxiety.
While none of this information is making any of us breathe easier, there are steps you can take. Among them, check the quality of your air in real time by going to the website Airnow.gov. If your air quality isn’t good, you may want to reduce the time you spend outdoors and/or the intensity of your outdoor activity.
The air quality inside your home can also be affected. Consider filtering your air, or add more plants to improve the quality of your indoor air.
If you are one of the 35 million Americans with chronic lung illness, you have no doubt already experienced that regular chiropractic adjustments can help you breathe more freely. Lifestyle chiropractic care helps improve blood flow and boost oxygen levels – both necessary for a healthy body and immune system.
However, you shouldn’t wait until you are a statistic to see your chiropractor. Find a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you today and keep your family healthy – even from things you can’t see. When it comes to yourself and your loved ones, lifestyle chiropractic care is the best thing you can do to breathe easier.