How Does Air Quality Affect Health?

How Does Air Quality Affect Health?


The air you breathe contains chemicals and particles that can harm your health. These are known as pollutants.

Most pollution in the air is caused by humans, and it includes emissions from cars, airplanes, power plants, factories, waste disposal sites, smoke from burning wood and other fuels, and aerosol cans. It also includes natural sources like smoke from wildfires, ash from volcanic eruptions, and gases from decomposing organic matter in soils.

Air Pollution Symptoms

Air pollution can cause a wide range of health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, coughing and chest tightness. It can also make people feel dizzy or nauseated and cause bad smells in buildings, factories, garbage or sewer systems.

Air pollution is made when gaseous pollutants combine with sunlight, such as ozone. Levels of ground-level ozone increase in cities when the sun is bright and temperatures are warm.

Exposure To Pollutants

Pollutants can cause health problems by entering the body and causing inflammation, damage or cancer. Air pollutants can affect nearly every organ in the body, but they’re most harmful when small particles (known as PM2.5) penetrate deep into the lungs and circulate throughout the bloodstream.

Long-term exposure to air pollution increases the risk for respiratory diseases and all-cause mortality. It also increases the risk for heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).