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SoCal Air Quality: Improved But Not Enough

Posted on September 17, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse
LA smog 1970
Los Angeles in 1970

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the stereotype of the environment in southern California was great weather, but lots of smog, and that was right. There were days back then when Californians’ eyes would burn and breathing itself could be painful. Even on our worst days, it never looks like the photo above any more, thank goodness!

Air pollution regulations and better exhaust systems on our millions of vehicles have improved the situation dramatically, but according to the Press-Enterprise, there are still 100 days every year when the air quality “is failing to meet today’s clean air standards.” Press-Enterprise

How does air pollution affect your health?

With more research since those smoggy decades, more health effects from air pollution have been discovered. Air pollution contributes to:

Heart disease

Lung cancer

Burst appendix

Allergies

Asthma

Immune system issues

and, of course, the costs of healthcare to treat sufferers from all of those conditions.

What can you do about your exposure to air pollution?

There are a lot of things you can do. They may seem small, but they add up:

Don’t let your car idle. Not only are you wasting expensive fuel, you are adding to your emissions. This is especially important outside school, where there are so many cars waiting for the bell to ring. Children suffer more from the effects of air pollution than adults.

Buy local. In Southern California, we are very lucky to have locally grown produce all year long. Take advantage of it–go to your nearest farmer’s market for groceries and reduce truck exhaust.

Check the Air Quality Index before outdoor activities. You can find out if today is a particularly bad air quality day by going to Airnow.gov and plug in your zip code to see the air quality in your area in real time. Especially if you have asthma, it could help you make good decisions about your exposure to air pollution.

Minimize your indoor air pollution. By keeping your ventilation system clean and well-maintained, changing your air filters, running kitchen exhaust fans whenever you cook and using back burners, and changing your cleaning products to low or no-VOC options, you can dramatically reduce your exposure to indoor air pollution, which can be worse than that you find outdoors.

At AirTek, we are always concerned with the indoor and outdoor air quality in California and around the globe. Call us if you need help improving the indoor air quality in your home or other building.

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