Conversations about air quality often spike when things get bad, such as when smoke fills our valleys during the peak of wildfire season. Wildfires aren’t our only source of air pollution, though, which is why ICL focuses on air quality and public health year round. We want to ensure that no one is negatively impacted by air pollution — especially sensitive populations such as children, the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions.
What Are the Health Impacts from Air Pollution?
Your respiratory system is usually the first to show signs of impacts from air pollution. When breathing polluted air, you’ll immediately notice irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, and possibly shortness of breath. Frequently breathing polluted air over the course of years can lead to permanent lung damage, development of diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and possibly cancer.
Unfortunately, it’s not just your respiratory system at risk. Prolonged exposure to air pollution can damage your cardiovascular system as well, and even trigger heart attacks and strokes.
Bottom line — breathing polluted air is bad and should be avoided at all cost. To keep yourself healthy for years to come, keep these factors in mind:
- What’s in the air? Some types of pollution are worse for us than other types. Check what’s in the air before you go out.
- How long will you be exposed? The less time you spend in polluted air, the better!
- Know the symptoms and treatment options for any preexisting medical conditions you may have.
- Be prepared with a backup plan for your fun outdoor event or activity — especially if your activity would be strenuous.
Keeping these things in mind will play a big role in protecting your health both now and well into the future.
ICL Is Your Advocate for Clean Air
- ICL is engaged in 10 different forest collaborative groups throughout the state to keep forests healthy and more resilient to fire.
- ICL is minimizing air pollution from transportation.
- ICL is closing down coal-fired power plants.
What You Can Do
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is stay up to date on air quality issues. Find a website or phone app on air quality and get in the habit of checking it regularly. Also, be sure to stay up to date on ICL’s work on air quality by signing up for our emails (use the box in the top right corner of the page) and becoming a member today!