Indoor Air Quality News and Research

With the EPA naming indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to health, research on indoor air pollution has exploded and the subject is increasingly in the news. We will post the latest news and research on our home page and archive it here, so check back often!

Cleaner Air May Reduce Dementia Risk in Older Women

Cleaner Air Reduces Risk of Dementia

Jan 22, 2022. Previous research has established a link between exposure to high air pollution levels later in life and the development of dementia. A new study now suggests that improving air quality may lead to improved brain health and reduce the risk of developing dementia in older women. Researchers examined cognitive function tests conducted over a ten-year period on women aged 74 to 92 and data on PM2.5 and NO2 pollution levels at the women's home addresses. They found that dementia risk dropped by 14% among those living in areas with a drop in PM2.5 levels and by 26% for those in areas that recorded improved N02 levels. This suggests that tightening air quality standards can promote healthier brain aging and reduce the societal burden of dementia. Source: News Medical

Western Wildfire Smoke Harmed More People in the Eastern US

Wildfire Smoke from West Hurts Easterners

Nov 9, 2021. In July of this year, New York City, Boston and Washington experienced hazy skies and redder than usual sunsets. In fact, on July 20, New York recorded the worst air quality in 14 years. The source of these pollutants was plumes of wildfire smoke that originated from the west coast wildfires nearly 3,000 miles away. Now, a new study has shown that although the majority of large wildfires occur in the western US, the East accounted for three-quarters of smoke-related deaths and asthma ER visits/hospital admissions over the last decade due to the higher population density. The researchers concluded that wildfire smoke will ultimately become the dominant source of PM2.5 pollution in the US and that wildfire smoke should no longer be viewed as a western problem. Source: Washington Post

Elevated VOC Levels Found in Homes Close to Natural Gas Wells

Harmful VOCs in Homes Close to Gas Wells

Oct 2, 2021. A study conducted by the University of Toronto has found that people living close to natural gas wells are exposed to elevated levels of VOCs in in both their indoor air and tap water. Forty out of the 47 VOCs tested for were present in the air samples taken from 85 homes in the Peace River region of BC, and VOC levels were correlated with both the number and proximity of gas wells to the home. Some VOCs used as solvents in fracking fluid (e.g., acetone and chloroform) placed the tested homes in the top 95th percentile when compared with the general population. The researchers expressed concern at the lack of a monitoring program to check air and water quality in nearby homes, particularly with the construction of a massive new gas plant being slated for the area. Source: U of T News

Household Products Contributing to Outdoor PM2.5 Air Pollution

Household VOCs adding to air pollution

August 19, 2021. Although VOC's have long been known to be toxic or even carcinogenic to humans, recent research has revealed that the VOCs emitted by common household products such as personal care products and cleansers can contribute to PM2.5 pollution outdoors. When emissions from volatile chemical products (VCPs) used in the home leak outdoors, they can transform into sticky chemicals that clump together to form particle pollutants known as ASOAs (anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols), adding to he ASOAs that are already being produced by vehicle emissions. ASOAs are hazardous to human health if inhaled, and modelling by the researchers suggests that ASOAs derived from VCPs may cause 340,000 to 900,000 premature deaths annually. Source: Environmental Health News

Cooking a Major Source of Indoor Air Pollutants

Cooking Hazardous for Indoor Air

July 19, 2021. Research shows that cooking releases hundreds of pollutants into your indoor air. These pollutants include gases emitted from the food itself as it is being cooked (e.g., the proteins in meat can give off ammonia), aerosolized oil particles from frying and sauteeing, ultra-fine particulates from electric stoves and harmful gases from gas stoves (e.g., nitrogen dioxide). For example, researchers found that boiling water on a gas stove emits twice as much NO2 as EPAs's allowable standard for outdoors. Researchers recommend switching to induction stoves if possible, and keeping the range hood on high when cooking if it is vented outside. A 2018 study showed that particulate levels are 10% less in homes using range hoods for ventilation than those that don't. Source: Discover

Toys and Mattresses Can Affect Air Quality in Children's Rooms

Toxic Toys and Mattresses in Children's Rooms

June 3, 2021. Recent research identified over 125 harmful chemicals in children's plastic toys, including phthalates, flame retardants and plasticizers. The research also showed that the greatest risk to children was through the inhalation of fumes diffusing out of the toys into the room rather than through direct contact. Similarly, new mattresses have been shown to contain many toxic chemicals that can off-gas when warmed by a person's body heat, even after 6 months of use. These include polyurethane, flame retardants, and VOCs such as formaldehyde and benzene, all of which can contribute to long-term health issues and increased cancer risk, particularly for those exposed as infants. These and other studies point to the importance of maintaining good ventilation in children's rooms. Source: Science Times

Scientific Evidence Points to Airborne Transmission of Covid

Airborne Transmission of Coronavirus

May 21, 2021. Research funded by WHO and published in the medical journal Lancet has concluded that Covid is primarily spread through airborne transmission of aerosols rather than by large droplets. Among the ten lines of evidence supporting this assertion are super-spreader events where transmission cannot be explained by droplets, transmission between infected people in adjacent rooms, viable viruses detected in the filtration systems and ductwork of hospitals, asymptotic transmission by people who are are not coughing or sneezing, higher transmission rates indoors than outdoors and animal studies showing transmission between animals connected only by an air duct. The authors state that public health guidelines should be revised accordingly without further delay. Source: Lancet

Covid Mortality Rates Linked to High Air Pollution Levels

Link between Covid Mortality and Traffic Pollutants

April 2, 2021. A spatial modelling study conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health shows a strong association between death rates from Covid and traffic-related air pollution levels in Los Angeles County. The study focused specifically on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as this is a marker for harmful traffic-related air pollutants. The research showed that Los Angeles neighborhoods with the worst air quality experienced 60% higher Covid fatalities than those with the best air quality. The researchers say that air pollution causes pre-existing conditions that make people more susceptible to respiratory issues such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer, respiratory infections and Covid. Nitrogen dioxide in particular is known to impair the function of lung epithelial cells, increasing the risk of lung infections. Source: News Medical

Impact of Outdoor Air Pollution on Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality affected by outdoor air pollution

Mar 11, 2021. Researchers at the University of Utah have confirmed that indoor air quality levels are strongly affected by outdoor pollution events such as wildfires, fireworks and winter weather inversions. During the August 2018 California wildfires, indoor particulate pollution levels increased to almost 80% of outdoor levels, almost reaching levels considered to be unsafe for humans for a 48 hour period. Both July 4 firework smoke and a winter inversion event boosted indoor levels to 30% of outdoor levels. Source: Science Daily

Wood Burning In Homes A Major Source of Particle Pollution

Gas stoves pollutes indoor air

Feb 18, 2021. Scientists in the UK report that domestic wood burning is now the largest source of fine particulate pollution in the country, creating three times more PM2.5 pollutants than vehicles do even though only 8% of the population burns wood. Wood burners were also found to triple the level of PM2.5 particles indoors, prompting scientists to recommended that they be sold with a health warning. As a result, the government is introducing a ban on the retail sale of wet wood and house coal later this year. Source: The Guardian

Gas Stoves Linked to Asthma and Higher Covid Death Rate

Gas stoves pollutes indoor air

Jan 14, 2021. Past research has shown that cooking with gas stoves significantly elevates the risk of developing asthma and respiratory disease (a 24% increase in lifetime risk). Now a new study has shown that long-term exposure to elevated N02 - the main pollutant from gas appliances - is linked to higher death rates from Covid-19. Based on the cumulative results of this research, the New England Journal of Medicine has recommended that gas appliances be removed from the market. Source: Undark

Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfectants a Potential Health Hazard

Hydrogen Peroxide pollutes indoor air

Dec 1, 2020. University of Saskatchewan researchers have found that frequent cleaning of surfaces with hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants can pose a health risk. Mopping the floor just once caused H202 levels at head height to spike to 60% of maximum exposure levels. Wiping a counter could result in even higher concentrations at the breathing zone, causing respiratory irritation. Caution should be used in homes with children and pets, as they are physically closer to the floor. Source: EurekAlert

Air Fryers May Contribute to Indoor Air Pollution

Air Fryers can add to  Indoor Air Pollution

Nov 4th, 2020. Although air fryers are intended to produce healthier food than deep fryers by eliminating most of the oil, a recent study has shown that they can contribute to poor indoor air quality when cooking high-fat foods without proper ventilation. For example, researchers determined that frying a sausage in a studio apartment caused PM2.5 levels to spike to 1,525 times their normal levels. Even when using a range hood, PM2.5 particle counts were up 13 times higher over pan-frying a sausage. Source: Air Quality News

Covid Lockdown Reduced Asthma Attacks in Children

Lockdown reduces Asthma in School Children

Oct 14th, 2020. Researchers in the UK have found that the reduced air pollution levels associated with the Covid-19 lockdown in London caused asthma attacks in children to virtually disappear. Previously, the California Children's Health Study determined that there could be a 20%-50% drop in children with poor lung function if air pollution levels could be halved. These studies have spearheaded a nationwide collaboration to improve the air quality around children's schools in the UK. Source: SecEd

Exposure to Air Pollution may Increase Diabetes Risk

Air Pollution Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk

Sept 20th, 2020. Using a mouse model study, researchers compared mice exposed to a polluted environment that mimicked the PM2.5 levels found in Beijing vs a control group that received filtered air and a third group that was fed a high-fat diet. They found that being exposed to a heavily polluted environment was comparable to eating a high fat diet, producing the insulin resistance typical of a pre-diabetes state. The good news is that the effects reversed when the pollution source was removed. Source: Air Quality News

The Link Between PM2.5 Pollution and Your Brain

PM2.5 and the brain

Aug 8, 2020. A new study has shown that exposure to PM2.5 particulates during childhood may affect the developing brain. Researchers matched MRI brain scans with yearly pollution data for 11,000 children in 21 US cities. The results showed that areas of the brain associated with cognition were smaller in children with a greater lifetime exposure to PM2.5 pollution, while areas associated with emotion were larger, potentially increasing the risk for cognitive and emotional problems later on in life. Source: Medical XPress

Covid-19 may Spread Through Airborne Transmission


July 14, 2020. A panel of 239 scientists and physicians is pressuring the WHO to address mounting research that shows Covid-19 may spread through tiny aerosols that are produced when people speak, cough or exhale. These aerosols are light enough to remain airborne, travelling long distances on air currents and accumulating in poorly ventilated spaces. If the virus is indeed spreading through airborne transmission, then social distancing policies may not be adequate to protect people from the disease. Source: Nature

Use of Air Purifiers Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure


June 18, 2020. A systemic review and meta-analysis of published clinical trials showed that use of portable air purifiers for a median of 13.5 days significantly lowered indoor PM2.5 levels and reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP) by an average of 4 mmHg. Results were consistent regardless of age, health status, or PM2.5 exposure level. The authors noted that decreasing a population's SBP by a mere 5 mmHg could reduce the risk of mortality from stroke by 14% and mortality in general by 7%. Source: Cardiovascular Business

Indoor Humidity Decreases Susceptibility to Covid-19


May 16, 2020. Spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists around the world are petitioning the WHO to take action on research showing that an indoor humidity level of 40% to 60% is optimal for controlling the spread of respiratory viruses. Studies show that breathing dry air makes it more difficult for our immune system to combat viruses. As well, low humidity causes droplets containing viruses to shrink through evaporation making them more likely to remain airborne where they can be breathed in. Source: Air Quality News

Air Pollution Linked to High Coronavirus Mortality Rates

neurological disease

April 12, 2020. Italian researchers have determined that the high death rate from Covid-19 in two regions in northern Italy (12% vs. 4.5% in the rest of the country) may be due to high levels of air pollution in the North, with daily exposure to pollutants weakening people's respiratory systems. A nation-wide study by Harvard University also showed a statistical link between Coronavirus-related deaths and long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollutants in the US, with even slight increases in exposure affecting the mortality rate. Source: Science Daily

Living Near a Busy Road Increases Risk of Neurological Disease

neurological disease

Feb 8, 2020. Vancouver researchers have found a positive link between road proximity and Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and dementia in general. Living less than 50 metres from a major road or 150 metres from a highway was found to increase the risk of these neurological disorders by as much as 15%, with air pollutants (PM2.5, black carbon and nitrogen dioxide) being specifically linked to Parkinson's and non-Alzheimer's Disease. Source: Environmental Health

Air Purifiers Installed in Schools Increase Test Performance

Industrial pollution

Jan 13, 2020. An NYU research study conducted in the aftermath of the Aliso Canyon gas leak showed that the installation of air filters in area schools 3 months after the incident resulted in substantially increased Math and English test scores, with the gains persisting into the following year. Air testing at the schools in the weeks following the leak showed no elevated pollutants (methane dissipates quickly), suggesting that it it was the removal of "normal" ambient pollutants that produced the effect. Source: Brown University

Humans are the Main Source of Harmful VOCs in the Workplace

VOCs produced by office workers

Dec 12, 2019. Researchers at Purdue University tracked both occupancy and VOC levels using thousands of sensors in 4 open plan office spaces for 30 days. The results showed that people are the greatest source of VOCs in the office, with levels measured at 10-20 times higher inside than out. The VOCs are likely from deodorant, makeup and hairspray, as well as from compounds in the human breath (e.g., isoprene), and many of them linger in the office even after people have left. Source: Science Daily

Scientists Link Nanoparticle Air Pollution to Brain Cancer

particles found in human hearts

Nov 27, 2019. A McGill Univerity epidemiologist has found a link between brain cancer and nanoparticle air pollution (e.g., from road and traffic pollutants) by analyzing the medical records and air pollution exposure of adults in Toronto and Montreal over a 25-year period. The results show that an increase in pollution exposure of 10,000 nanoparticles per cubic cm (the equivalent of moving from a quiet street to a busy road) increases the risk of brain cancer by more than 10%. Source: The Guardian

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation Hazardous to Indoor Air

spray foam insulation harmful to health

Nov 8, 2019. Although spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation does a great job of insulating your home and preventing moisture problems, it contains many chemicals that are classified as human health hazards, including the toxic flame retardant TCPP. It can also result in the ongoing off-gassing of isocyanate, a lung irritant and leading cause of asthma and chemical sensitivities in the workplace. Use of SPF should be avoided where safer alternatives are available. Source: Earth 911

Indoor Air Pollution Affects Cognition as Well as Health

particles found in human hearts

Oct 20, 2019. The latest research coming out of Germany suggests that air pollution can reduce our cognitive skills. The study tracked 600 different chess games during indoor chess tournaments over 3 years, merging this information with measures of air quality at the venues. The study showed that an increase in PM2.5 particulates of 10 ug/m3 increased the probability of making an error by 26%, with the impact most pronounced among older players and when players were under time stress. Source: Air Quality News

Indoor Air Pollution a Strong Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease

particles found in human hearts

Sep 25, 2019. A ten-year research study conducted on 155,000 people across 21 countries has identified indoor and outdoor air pollution as 2 of 14 modifiable risk factors that account for over 70% of cardiovascular disease and deaths around the world. In fact, both indoor and outdoor air pollution emerged as being more critical than some traditional factors such as salt intake and obesity. The risk was even higher in low to middle income countries due to solid fuel usage indoors. Source: PHRI

Air Pollution Linked to Bipolar Depression and Other Psychiatric Disorders

particles found in human hearts

Sep 10, 2019. Research suggests there is a strong link between air pollution and mental health, particularly bipolar disorder. In the US component of the study, there was a 29% increase in the incidence of bipolar disorder among those breathing polluted air, even when factors such as ethnicity, urbanicity and income were controlled for. The researchers believe that inhaled pollutants reach the brain via the bloodstream where they cause inflammation of brain tissue. Source:

Harmful Particulate Pollutants Found in the Heart Tissue of City Dwellers

particles found in human hearts

Aug 10, 2019. Scientists in Mexico City believe they have found a direct link between air pollution and heart disease. Billions of toxic particulates have been discovered in the heart tissue of city-dwellers, with associated cell damage found in the heart's pumping muscles. At 2 to 22 billion particles per gram, the quantity was 2 to 10 times higher than in non-city dwellers. The cell damage was also observed in 3-year olds, indicating that the effects of air pollution on the heart begin early in life. Source: The Guardian

Carbon Dioxide Identified as the Latest
Indoor Health Hazard

carbon dioxide

July 15, 2019. There is mounting evidence that indoor levels of carbon dioxide can have harmful effects on our health, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children. It is now believed that even short exposures to CO2 levels as low as 1,000 ppm can affect cognition, with higher levels leading to circulatory system damage and kidney problems. Levels exceeding 1,000 ppm have been measured in bedrooms, crowded offices and poorly ventilated classrooms, as well as in planes. Source: The Guardian

Harmful Airborne Microplastics are Being
Inhaled at Home


June 25, 2019. A new study using a breathing mannequin to simulate human breathing and metabolism suggests that the average apartment dweller breathes in close to 275 microplastic particles / fibres in a 24 hour period. Airborne microplastics are generated in the home by the breakdown of clothing, furnishings, toys and plastic goods. They are known to cause inflammation in deep lung tissue, possibly leading to respiratory and cardiovascular issues with chronic exposure. Source: Nature

Ambient Ozone Exposure Linked to Stroke
and Cardiovascular Disease

ozone exposure linked to artherosclerosis

June 4, 2019. An epidemiological study has shown that chronic exposure to ambient ozone (e.g., smog) could worsen the arterial conditions that lead to strokes or heart attacks. The study suggests that long-term exposure to ozone can advance atherosclerosis, particularly in the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain. While ground-level ozone is known to attack lung tissue, the biological mechanism behind its tendency to accelerate plaque build-up is not yet understood. Source: News Medical

Nail Salon Workers Face Increased
Cancer Risk

nail salon workers face increased risk of cancer

May 13, 2019. A new study conducted by the University of Colorado has likened working at a nail salon to working at an oil refinery due to chronic exposure to benzene, formaldehyde and other VOCs. The ground-breaking research noted that salon workers face an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses or cancer, with the lifetime cancer risk up to 100 times higher than baseline EPA levels. Roughly 70% of workers also reported symptoms such as headaches and eye irritation. Source: EurekAlert

Houseplants Don't Filter Out VOCs to Any Useful Degree

houseplants don't clean the air

April 1, 2019. While it is commonly believed that houseplants can cleanse the air in your home of pollutants, most scientists now agree that this is a myth propagated from the overstated results of one NASA study. While plants do remove VOCs from the air to some degree, the total surface area of plants in a room is too small to have an impact on the entire room. In fact, one scientist estimates that it would take over 1,000 plants to produce just one air exchange per hour in a 10x10x8 ft room. Source: The Atlantic

Air Pollution Surpasses Smoking as Cause of Death Worldwide

air pollution surpasses smoking as cause of death

Mar 15, 2019. According to the European Heart Journal, the latest research shows that air pollution has now exceeded smoking as a cause of death on a global basis (8.8 vs 7.2 million deaths annually). The majority of these pollution-related deaths are linked to cardiovascular disease. The study estimates that PM2.5 particulates in particular could be reducing the average European lifespan by 2.2 years by impairing vascular function, ultimately leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Source: Newsweek

Cooking Dinner Can Make Your Air as Bad as in Heavily Polluted Cities

indoor air as bad as air in polluted cities

Feb 20, 2019. The HOMEChem project monitors indoor air quality in a test home where scientists carry out normal household activities such as cleaning and cooking. The latest results showed that cooking a turkey dinner caused harmful PM2.5 levels in the home to spike to 200 mg/m3 for one hour. This is 13 times higher than PM2.5 levels in downtown London and on par with Delhi. Over the course of the day, levels exceeded WHO's safety guidelines for more than 8 hours. Source: The Guardian

Researchers Confirm that House Dust Can be Inhaled

resuspended house dust inhaled

Feb 4, 2019. Canadian researchers have confirmed that the inhalation of resuspended house dust (i.e., dust that has settled but becomes airborne again due to activity in the room) is a major source of exposure to pollutants in the home. These pollutants include harmful chemicals used in plasticizers and flame retardants, pesticides and metals such as lead. Inhalation exposure tends to be higher in carpeted homes and those located within 2 km of an urban industrial zone. Source: Science Trends

UK Government Warns About Toxins in Scented Candles

link between air pollution and miscarriages

Jan 21, 2019. Scented candles have been identified as a major source of household pollution in the UK government's recent Clean Air Strategy report, together with cleaning products and woodstoves/fireplaces. The paraffin wax in scented candles and metal cores in cotton wicks can release toxic chemicals into the air as they burn, triggering asthma symptoms or respiratory system distress. Natural soy candles are a much better choice for those who can't stop using them completely. Source: Independent

Latest Study to Link Air Pollution with Pregnancy Risk

link between air pollution and miscarriages

Jan 2, 2019. A new study conducted in Utah strengthens the body of research on the harmful effects of air pollution on the fetus, showing that even short exposure periods can increase the risk of a miscarriage. Nitrogen dioxide in particular was found to cause a 16% increase in the likelihood of a miscarriage in the 7-day window following a spike in concentration levels. The researchers suggest the use of face respirators and air purifiers for pregnant women living in highly polluted areas. Source: Science Daily

Unsafe Levels of Radon Found
in 1 out of 6 Homes in Alberta

High Levels of Radon in Homes

Dec 12, 2018. A University of Calgary study indicates that 1 in 6 Alberta homes have unsafe levels of radon, with homes in rural areas and new houses at higher risk. A radioactive gas existing naturally in the soil, radon can seep into our homes, building to dangerous levels. When inhaled, it breaks down in the lungs, emitting radiation that can damage the cells lining the lungs. Radon is the most prevalent cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, with one Albertan diagnosed every day. Source: CBC News

Nursery Schools in London Testing Use of
Air Filtration Systems to Protect Children

nursery schools test air filtration systems

Dec 6, 2018. Researchers in London are testing the effectiveness of using indoor filtration systems in nursery schools to reduce children's exposure to harmful indoor air pollutants while in the classroom. Air quality audits will also be conducted to assess indoor and outdoor air pollution sources, with a view to reducing nitrogen dioxide, PM10 and PM2.5 levels in schools. Research has shown that these pollutants are most likely to cause children to grow up with asthma and other respiratory issues. Source: Nursery World

Evidence Suggests Exposure to Air Pollutants
is Damaging to Cardiovascular System

cardiovascular system

Oct 22, 2018. A new report released by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants concludes that there is strong evidence to show that exposure to ambient particulate pollutants can lead to increased blood pressure, greater risk of blood clots, atherosclerosis, heart arrhythmia and systemic inflammation of the cardiovascular system. The report states that fine particulates (PM2.5) are the worst culprit, with the evidence being less consistent for gaseous pollutants. Source: British Heart Foundation

Montreal's New Wood-Burning
Bylaw Now in Effect

wood-burning ban

Oct 5, 2018. In an effort to reduce harmful wood smoke pollution, Montreal has implemented a strict ban on wood burning, limiting the use of fireplaces and wood stoves to clean-burning models that emit less than 2.5 grams of fine particles per hr. Wood burning is the largest source of fine particulate pollution in Montreal after vehicle emissions, and is estimated to be responsible for more than 40,000 asthma attacks, 6000 cases of bronchitis and 900 premature deaths in the city per year. Source: Montreal Gazette

HEPA Purifiers Shown to Improve Home Air
Quality During Air Advisory Days


Sept 27th, 2018. Researchers examined the effectiveness of modestly-priced HEPA air purifiers vs. non-HEPA units in removing particulates from the homes of people with respiratory issues during air advisory days in Salt Lake City. HEPA filters were found to be vastly better in removing PM2.5 particulates, cutting overall levels by 55%. Pollutants filtering in from outside were also cut by 23%, leading researchers to conclude that HEPA units do help to reduce air pollution exposure risks. Source: News Medical

Respiratory Disease in Cats Linked to IAQ


Sept 14, 2018. A ground-breaking new study on cats and dogs with respiratory diseases has linked high household levels of PM2.5 particles with respiratory issues in cats. Dogs were found to be much less affected by ambient air pollutants in their homes, with physical factors such as age, body weight and overall physical condition more likely to be risk factors for respiratory disease. However, the researchers found that several homes of dogs with respiratory issues had "extreme" PM2.5 levels, warranting further study. Source: American Veterinarian

Air Pollutants Cause Heart Structural Changes


Aug 23, 2018. Research coming out of the UK shows that exposure to ambient levels of air pollution can lead to major structural changes in the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure. More specifically, the study showed that those who lived close to busy roads developed enlarged ventricles in the heart. For every extra 1 ug/m3 of PM2.5 exposure and 10 ug/m3 of N02 exposure, the heart was enlarged by 1%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are no safe limits for PM2.5 exposure. Source: EurekAlert

PM2.5 Air Pollution Affects Fetal Development

pregnant mother

July 19, 2018. An unprecedented John Hopkins University study has shown that PM2.5 air pollutants can cross the placental barrier in pregnancy and affect fetal development. The study showed that children exposed to higher levels of fine particulate pollution in the womb in the third trimester had a 61% increased risk of developing high blood pressure in childhood, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease later as an adult. This was true regardless of factors such as birth weight, maternal smoking and the mother's prior exposure to air pollutants. Source: Science News

Harmful Microplastics in Your Indoor Air

microplastics in home air

June 14, 2018. The latest research suggests that the harmful microplastics found in our bodies come not only from drinking out of plastic bottles and eating polluted seafood, but from breathing indoor air. The shearing of fibres from synthetic clothing/furniture and the fragmentation of plastic bags, containers, toys, etc, due to friction, create most of the airborne microplastics in our homes. When breathed in, these particulates are small enough to become lodged in our lungs where they can cause serious respiratory and cardiac issues down the road. Source: The Print

School Maintenance Cuts May be Putting Children in Danger

PM2.5 particles linked with lung infections

May 21, 2018. A recent investigation in Connecticut showed that inadequate school maintenance budgets may be affecting air quality in public schools. An examination of years of school records in the state showed that over 30% of public schools had a deficiency in school air quality. Moreover, five years later, 13% of these identified issues had still not been fixed. The air quality issues included poor ventilation, aging HVAC systems, deteriorating ceiling tiles and mold growth due to leaky roofs. Source: NBC

Short Exposures to PM2.5 Pollution Linked to Lung Infections in Children

PM2.5 particles linked with lung infections

May 1, 2018. Yet another study has surfaced linking fine PM2.5 particulate pollutants with lung disease, this one involving over 100,000 people. A key focus of the study was on very young children, including newborns and toddlers, with spikes in measured PM2.5 levels leading to increased medical visits for respiratory infections in this group. PM2.5 pollution is a potential threat to anyone living near a major roadway or industrial area, with outdoor pollutants readily seeping indoors. Source: Clean Technica

1 in 4 Americans Now Suffer From Chemical Sensitivities

burners contribute to poor indoor air

April 9, 2018. The prevalence of chemical sensitivities has risen more than 200% over the last decade, with 1 in 4 people now reporting sensitivities to common chemicals such as air fresheners, detergents, fragrances, etc. Over half of those with sensitivities have been formally diagnosed with MCS, experiencing severely disabling effects that have led to lost jobs or workdays. Researchers liken MCS sufferers to human canaries in that they react earlier and more severely to minute levels of chemicals. Source: UPI

Pollution in the Kitchen: Cooking Contributes
to Poor Indoor Air Quality

burners contribute to poor indoor air

March 22, 2018. According to an in-home study by Berkeley Lab, frying and cooking at high temperatures can introduce harmful contaminants into the air. Gas burners were found to produce nitrogen dioxide in amounts that in some cases exceeded federal health standards for outdoor air, while electric burners were shown to produce dangerous ultra-fine particles and PAHs. Researchers urge the consistent use of range hoods and exhaust fans to safeguard the health of your family when cooking. Source: The Scope

Household Products As Bad as Cars for
VOC Emissions

household cleansers and VOCs

March 1, 2018. New research out of the US has determined that common household products such as cleansers, hair spray, cosmetics, air fresheners and paint release the same quantity of toxic VOCs into the outdoor air as cars do. Given that the air in a typical home contains 7 times the amount of VOCs as outdoor air does, this is cause for concern. On the bright side, these findings will likely put greater pressure on the government to increase regulation on chemicals used in consumer products. Source: The Atlantic

Exposure to Air Pollution May be Linked
to Type 2 Diabetes

air pollution and diabetes

Feb 13, 2018. While it is well-established that air pollution is linked to health issues such as cardiovascular disease, birth defects, and cancer, there is now growing evidence that exposure to both outdoor and indoor air pollutants can lead to greater insulin sensitivity, higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Research also suggests that chronic exposure to air pollutants may act as an onset trigger for those genetically predisposed to Type 1 Diabetes. Source: Diabetes Council

Phthalates May be Inhaled as Well as Ingested

phthalates in indoor air

Jan 25, 2018. Phthalates are toxic chemicals used ubiquitously in household products, including vinyl flooring, household cleaners and personal care products. Although the average person’s greatest exposure to phthalates is through eating food packaged in plastic, phthalate vapours and particles are also in the air where they can be inhaled. Long-term effects of phthalate exposure include damage to the reproductive system, disrupted hormone cycles and sexual dysfunction. Source: Reports HealthCare

Your New Furniture May Be Making You Sick

new furniture may make you sick

Jan 5, 2018. A major source of indoor air pollution is off-gassing from new furnishings, with carpets, cabinets and particleboard furniture being the worst offenders. In fact, 4 of the top 10 chemicals emitted by furniture are classified as acute respiratory irritants or probable carcinogens. While manufacturers are not forced to disclose the hazardous chemicals used in their products, low-emission furniture certified by testing programs such as Greenguard can help consumers choose wisely. Source: Washington Post

Living Near A Busy Road Can Increase Risk of Asthma in Adults

road pollution can cause asthma

Dec 18, 2017. New research coming out of Australia has scientists warning people about the hazards of living near a busy road. The study shows that middle-aged adults living within 200m of a major road have a 50% higher risk of developing asthma and weak lung function. Australia has relatively low levels of NO2 and other traffic pollutants, suggesting that even air pollution levels regarded as “safe” can have negative health effects. Source: Medical Xpress

Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollutants Could Accelerate Aging

air quality affects aging

Dec 1, 2017. A recent study on over 600 women showed that exposure to high levels of PM2.5 air pollutants during pregnancy resulted in newborns with shortened telomere lengths in placental tissue. Telomere length is used as a marker for biological age, with shorter lengths at birth believed to be associated with reduced life expectancy. This supports previous research linking poor air quality with faster aging in adult cells. Source: Medical News Bulletin

Submicron Oil Droplets from Frying Food May Affect Indoor Air Quality

oil droplets and air quality

Nov 20, 2017. A research team from Texas has determined that frying food in hot oil (e.g., stir-frying or deep-frying) can release an explosion of tiny oil droplets that are small enough to be inhaled. The explosive reaction occurs when even a single water droplet from the food comes in contact with the hot oil. The group is now studying the extent to which these cooking-based aerosols contribute to indoor air pollution in poorly ventilated kitchens. Source: Science Daily

Toxic Chemicals Found in Green Housing Point to Need for Better Standards

toxic chemicals in renovated housing

Oct 20, 2017. Researchers in Boston tested public housing units that were newly renovated according to green building standards for over 100 different toxic chemicals. Results indicated the presence of harmful levels of chemicals such as flame retardants, solvents used in paint/floor finishes and formaldehyde. Several chemicals that have been long banned for health reasons (e.g., pesticides) were also detected in some units. Source: Science Daily

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