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Healthy Lifestyles Project

Healthy Lifestyles Project

Positive Pulse: Air Pollution

This months topic is fresh air!

Welcome to the Positive Pulse blog! Check in with us each month for tips on healthy living, right on our website. A short snippet will be featured in the NJSAP monthly newsletter as well, which you can sign up for here. 

This months topic is fresh air! We’ll talk a little bit about types of air pollution, how it can affect you, and how to help combat pollution in your neighborhood.

Air pollution is a mix of hazardous substances that can be either man-made or come from nature. The most common causes of man-made air pollution include vehicle emissions, fuel oils and natural gas to heat homes, coal-fueled power plants, and fumes from chemical production. Nature can also release hazardous substances into the air, such as smoke from wildfires, ash and gases from volcanic eruptions; and gases which are emitted from soils from decaying creatures and plants. Air pollution and climate change are linked together because both problems come largely from the same sources, such as emissions from burning fossil fuels and both are threats to people’s health and the environment worldwide.

Air pollution affects everyone’s health, but certain groups may at higher risk, as almost 9 out of 10 people who live in urban areas worldwide are affected by air pollution. Severe air pollution over time can lead to higher likelihood of developmental issues, cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. In older adults, long-term exposure to traffic related air pollution may significantly hasten physical disabilities.

Ways you can help to reduce air pollution at home include: 

  • Drive your car less
  • Carpool, bike, bus, or telecommute
  • Keep your car in good repair
  • Turn off your engine rather than idle
  • Don't burn your garbage
  • Limit backyard fires in the city
  • Keep fires brief and small — 3 feet across or less
  • Burn only dry fire wood
  • Never start campfires during an air quality alert. 
  • Plant and care for trees
  • Switch to electric or hand-powered lawn equipment and vehicles 
  • Use less energy