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Walk up to anyone and ask them why humans need oxygen, and you will get the same response, across the board, from young children to older adults: to breathe. Everyone knows what oxygen is and how important it is to all life on Earth. Chances are, you’ve taken a chemistry class at some point and learned some information about where it lies on the periodic table, its atomic mass, and how it forms bonds with other elements.
Beyond this, however, most people are unaware of those facts about oxygen that really mean something in terms of our health – the ways in which oxygen impacts our daily life. Here are 10 important facts about air quality, intake, and pollution that warrant a closer look at the oxygen all around us.
1. You breathe almost 23 times as much air as you eat food, and you breathe about 8 times as much air as you drink water. The quality of the air we breathe, therefore, greatly affects our health, and should be considered as seriously as something like a diet when looking for ways to make your lifestyle healthier.
2. Despite popular belief, indoor air often is more polluted than outdoor air. Even worse, we spend around 90 percent of our time indoors, and 65 percent of that time indoors is spent at home. Luckily, there are easy steps we can all take to reduce indoor air pollution.
3. Six of the top 11 United States cities with the worst air pollution reside in California, including Los Angeles. Along with pollution from agriculture, vehicle population, and a mountainous topography that traps pollution, the high rate of poor air quality could be a result of air pollution in China spreading.
4. Nutrition actually plays a huge part in improving your breathing and managing diseases like COPD. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and lean protein are among the better options to get the calories and fiber that will keep you healthy while combating COPD.
5. Although plants and trees provide oxygen and cut down on the carbon dioxide in the air, most of the oxygen in our atmosphere actually comes from the ocean. The huge abundance of algae in the sea is most responsible for providing us with the clean air to breathe.
6. Lungs are about the size of two footballs, yet stretched out their surface area would almost cover the area of a tennis court.
7. Almost every major city in the United States of America has air pollution that hangs around an unhealthy level. There is an increased necessity for efforts to clean and purify the air in these areas of higher risk.
8. As the amount of air pollution increases, the number of people suffering from some type of allergy also increases. At the same time, cutting out pollutants from the immediate surroundings can serve as a preventive measure to keep these allergies from setting in. Patients known to have “an allergic phenotype” as well as COPD were shown in a study to have higher levels of seasonal allergy symptoms.
9. One out of every three absences from work is somehow related to a disease of the respiratory tract. This is due to not only polluted air, but dry air, which increases the chance for infection and illness as the nose and respiratory tract are attacked. Weariness and an inability to concentrate also come with the dry air environment. Humidifying air, therefore, can be as important as keeping it clean.
10. By continually adhering to the Clean Air Act, which was first established in 1970, it is projected that by 2020 we will prevent at least 230,000 deaths and save $2 trillion annually.
The rewards of cutting air pollution are clear: Money and lives are saved by paying attention to what harmful toxins are being released.
Share these facts with your community and become a positive agent for better breathing!
Which is your favorite fact? Let us know in the comment section below or on Facebook.