The air that you breathe might just be what is slowly killing you.
The American Lung Association (ALA)’s State of the Air 2016 report does not look good. The key findings are as follows:
- More than half (>52.1%) of the people in the United States live in counties with unhealthful levels of ozone or particle pollution
- More than 166 million Americans in 418 counties are exposed to unhealthful levels of air pollution in the form of either ozone or short-term or year-round levels of particles
- More than half (>51.1%) live in areas with unhealthful levels of ozone. More than 162.9 million live in counties that were graded F for ozone levels
- Close to 45 million Americans live in 58 counties that experienced too many days with unhealthy spikes in particle pollution
- Nearly 22.8 million people (7.1%) in the United States live in counties with unhealthful year-round levels of particle pollution
- Nearly 20 million people live in 13 counties with unhealthful levels of all three: ozone and short-term and year-round particle pollution
At highest risk are children. The ALA reported that more than 39.1 million children under 18 years old live in counties that received an F for at least one pollutant, and more than 4.9 million children live in counties failing all three tests. Nearly 3.6 million children with asthma live in counties that received an F for at least one pollutant. Almost 441,000 children with asthma live in counties failing all three tests.
Exposure to harmful air particles, especially long term, causes
- aggravated asthma
- difficulty breathing
- cardiovascular damage and diseases
- lower birth weight
- even premature death
Even the air inside our homes poses dangers. Seemingly normal ordinary things contain harmful chemicals such as Formaldehyde, usually found in paper bags, paper towels, synthetic fabrics, waxed papers and tissues, that can cause irritation to the nose, mouth and throat and though rarely, swelling of the larynx and lungs. Cleaning agents, fertilizers, and floor waxes have Ammonia that causes eye irritation, coughing and a sore throat.
Trichloroethylene can be found in printing inks, lacquers, varnishes, paint remover and adhesives; exposure to Trichloroethylene can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Benzene is used to make plastics, resins dyes and detergents and can also be found in tobacco smoke, vehicle exhausts and furniture wax. When you are exposed to Benzene, you may feel dizzy, drowsy, experience an increase in heart rate, have headaches, and sometimes even make you unconscious.
Another toxic agent is Xylene, used in leather and paint and causes headaches and irritation to the mouth and throat. Xylene can also damage your liver and kidney and induce coma!
Life saving plants
How do we protect our homes without adding to the already polluted air? The NASA has found indoor plants that can filter toxins and air pollutants the natural way.
The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”) and Florist’s Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) are effective in filtering all five harmful toxins mentioned above, while the English Ivy (Hedera helix), Varigated Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata “Laurentii”), and Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena marinata) can help clean four of these chemicals (except Ammonia).
The Devils Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraenum), Lilyturf (Liriope spicata), Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa), Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), and Cornstalk Dracaena (Draceaena fragrans “Massangeana”) can help control the harmful effects of three out of five of the air pollutants.
Other indoor plants such as the Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix robelenii), Bostern Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), Kimberley Queen Firm (Nephrolepis obiliterata), Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaomema modestum), Bamboo Palm (Chamadorea seifrizii), and Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) are effective in filtering the air of two of the five harmful toxins mentioned above.
Please note, however, that some of these plants can be harmful to your pets.
Besides making your home beautiful, these plants are very helpful in filtering and minimizing toxins in the air. Get one or two of these plants now and stop the air from killing you and your children.