In December 2012, the University of California at San Diego discussed an exciting new advance in Air Quality monitoring. Researchers there had created a small portable device that measured air quality in real time, letting users know in the moment whether they were breathing clean air or if they had wandered into a spot of highly concentrated pollutants. This advanced technology allowed for those concerned with air quality to have more precise information about the environment around them, allowing them to make informed decisions about the air they breathed. Runners and bikers, for example, would be able to avoid areas with higher pollution, protecting their lungs as they exercised. The device could even be useful in indoor areas, as one study participant found when he realized that the air quality in his office was quite poor, prompting his company to take steps to improve the air for its employees.
We hope to see more research into this area, and look forward to the day when personal air quality monitoring is available to all. Until then, there are still steps one can take to be proactive about air quality and protected from pollutants. City-wide daily pollen and pollution counts are easily accessed on websites such as Pollen.com and AirNow.gov. These sites are great tools for learning about air pollution in your city, and can help to plan your outings during times when pollutant levels are low. When you’re in your home, you can be smart about air pollutants as well by using a HEPA air purifier such as our MinusA2 to filter out harmful pollutants and keep the air clean and fresh.
We all know that the hot summer sun can be bad for our skin, but did you know that the air quality during the summer months can pose a health risk as well? UV rays from the sun are stronger in the summer, causing more ozone to accumulate in the atmosphere and particularly in big cities, heat can cause outdoor air quality to worsen. The calm skies of summer can cause pollutants that have been released into the air to stagnate and hover in the skies, becoming thick layers of smog. This increase in pollution can be potentially harmful to those with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions, often contributing to symptoms or causing reactions.
Keep safe throughout the summer by checking air quality forecasts and planning your outings during the day when pollutants aren’t as concentrated in the air. If you usually exercise or perform strenuous activities outdoors, try something new and workout to a fun video or podcast at home. If you do decide to soak up the sun, try to steer clear of locations that are near freeways or other high-pollutant producing areas like big cities. If you relax indoors to beat the heat, use an air purifier to keep indoor air fresh and clean. Whatever you decide to do this summer, do it with clean air in mind inside your home and out.