Air Pollution & Health Effects


Air pollution harms your health
Every day you breathe in thousands of gallons of air. With that much air going into your lungs, even small amounts of air pollution present in each breath of air can harm your health. The most common air pollutants in California are ozone and particulate matter.

Ozone can irritate the mucus membranes in your mouth, nose, and throat; increase breathing difficulties; damage your lungs; and worsen existing respiratory problems such as asthma.

Particulate matter that is 10 microns in diameter or less is referred to as PM10 (a micron is less than 1/70th the thickness of a human hair). PM10 can cause increased respiratory illnesses, lung damage, cancer, and premature death. PM2.5 (particles 2.5 microns in diameter or less) are very small particles that can be lodged in the deepest part of your lungs.

Who suffers the most from air pollution?
Although air pollution can affect anyone, those who suffer the most from air pollution are the elderly, individuals with lung diseases such as asthma or heart disease, and children and adults who play, work, or exercise outdoors.

For more suggestions, check out Whatcha Doin' About Air Pollution and 50 Things You Can Do for Cleaner Air.