Particle pollution – also known as particulate matter or PM – is a general term for a mixture of tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the air. Particle pollution may come from power plants, industries, automobiles, wood stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, and wildfires.
In indoor settings, smoking, cooking, sweeping, dusting, or vacuuming can cause particle pollution.
Studies have shown that particle pollution can have serious adverse effects on people with respiratory or heart problems Yixing Du, Xiaohan Xu, Ming Chu, Yan Guo, and Junhong Wang. “Air particulate matter and cardiovascular disease: the epidemiological, biomedical and clinical evidence.” Journal of Thoracic … Continue reading Robert B. Hamanaka and Gökhan M. Mutlu. “Particulate Matter Air Pollution: Effects on the Cardiovascular System.” Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2018; 9: … Continue reading. According the the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chronic exposure to particle pollution can increase the numbers of cardiovascular events, including hospitalizations for serious events such as coronary syndrome, arrhythmia, heart failure, and stroke, particularly in people with established heart disease.
What You Can Do About Particle Pollution
If you have a heart condition or respiratory problems, you should be aware of the risk of particle pollution, and take steps to reduce your exposure.
Be Alert for High Pollution Levels
AirNow.gov reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index. They provide data for over 500 cities across the United States. In other areas, local agencies may publish air quality data, or issue air quality alerts.
Reduce Indoor Pollution
Avoid activities that can increase particle pollution indoors. Reduce the buildup of dust on surfaces using a damp cloth or mop. Use a vacuum cleaner with a hypo-allergenic bag or filter (ordinary vacuums disperse microscopic particles into the air, where they can remain suspended for hours).
You can also purchase an inexpensive air filtration system, which can significantly reduce the particle pollution in your home.
For the best protection, you can purchase a small air purifier for your bedroom, and a larger purifier to protect other spaces in your home. Click the images below to see several top-rated purifiers available at Amazon.com.
Avoid Outdoor Pollution
On poor air quality days, stay indoors as much as possible. If you must spend time outside, wear an N95 mask. N95 masks are designed to filter out 95% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. Since small particles are most likely to enter and become trapped in the lungs, this protection is very important.
KN95 masks are designed to meet the same standard as N95 masks. They are usually manufactured in China, and they are not tested and certified by the US government.
Ordinary cloth masks, sometimes called surgical masks, do a good job of filtering out the respiratory droplets that can carry COVID-19 and other diseases, but they offer no protection against particle pollution.
Click the images below to see popular N95 masks available at Amazon.com.
Yixing Du, Xiaohan Xu, Ming Chu, Yan Guo, and Junhong Wang. “Air particulate matter and cardiovascular disease: the epidemiological, biomedical and clinical evidence.” Journal of Thoracic Disease. 2016 Jan; 8(1): E8–E19.
|↑2||Robert B. Hamanaka and Gökhan M. Mutlu. “Particulate Matter Air Pollution: Effects on the Cardiovascular System.” Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2018; 9: 680.|