WTF Fun Fact 13239 – Indoor Air is More Polluted

More and more people are worried about air quality. But hiding indoors doesn’t appear to be an option for some people if their indoor air is more polluted. And that appears to be the case for a lot of people.

How can you know if your indoor air is more polluted than outdoors?

You can typically get readings for outdoor air quality with the weather report these days. Air pollution can come from natural sources like pollen or unnatural sources like factories, cars, and other machinery.

Testing your indoor air is another matter. But there are a few ways to get a clue about your indoor air quality. For example, if you experience frequent allergies or asthma indoors, you may have compromised air quality. If you can see or smell mold, mildew, or chemicals from cleaning supplies, your air is compromised.

If you walk into your home and experience irritation of the nose, eyes, or throat, experience skin rashes even when staying home for extended periods, or tend to experience dry skin, unexplained coughing, fatigue, dizziness, or headaches, it may be time to check your indoor air quality. (Of course, these can be symptoms of other issues as well.)

Sources of “bad air”

Indoor air pollution can come from some unlikely places. Obviously, bad air can seep into your home from outside or be tracked in on your clothing, hands, or shoes.

Other sources of indoor air pollution are:

  • Consumer products (like TVs, furniture, or things made of plastic) that tend to emit the chemicals Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) or Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).
  • Wood cleaners or sealants and mattresses that contain polyurethane.
  • Carpeting, plywood, and upholstery that can emit formaldehyde.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Mold and mildew growing in damp areas of your home.
  • Scent diffusers and candles.
  • Pesticide residue or pollen from your shoes.
  • Dust mites and roach droppings.
  • Fireplaces that emit combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide.
  • Pets (And there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic, dander-free pet!)

The list goes on, but these are major sources that can sometimes be remediated with air purifiers. If your house has poor ventilation, you may feel the effects of indoor air pollutants more acutely.

Getting rid of your floors and furniture certainly isn’t an option for most people. However, you can prohibit smoking indoors and cut down on your use of chemical cleaners. This is especially important if someone in your home has asthma or allergies.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Indoor Air Quality” — Environmental Protection Agency

WTF Fun Fact 13165 – The Power of Trees

Behold the power of trees! In 2015, a study found that having more than 10 trees on their block made people feel as healthy as if they were seven years younger or made an additional $10,000 a year.

The healing power of trees

According to the Washington Post (cited below): “After analyzing two sets of data from Toronto, researchers report that adding just 10 trees to a single city block could improve how healthy a person feels as much as if that person made an additional $10,000 a year or were seven years younger.”

The study also found that people who lived in neighborhoods with more trees were less likely to have hypertension, be obese, or have diabetes. This was true across all demographic and socioeconomic groups, so even trees in a less affluent neighborhood seemed to work their magic on residents.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s a causal link between trees and health. This could just be a correlation. But trees not only affected people’s objective health measures but their perceptions of their well-being as well. We feel better around trees.

Perhaps this is why the Japanese art of “forest bathing” is being explored in relation to cancer treatment.

The study looked at 30,000 people in Toronto, which has universal healthcare. That’s important because access to healthcare is not as reliant on one’s socioeconomic status, so it controls for that factor.

Why are trees good for us?

While the correlation found in the study was strong, the researchers still don’t know why trees make us healthier. One possibility is their ability to remove pollutants from the air.

And the more we learn about the effects of air pollution on our overall health, the more sense that makes. However, there are other studies that show even a short time spent among trees can have beneficial effects on our health.  WTF fun facts

Source: “10 more trees on your street could make you feel 7 years younger, study shows” — Washington Post