• How Does Air Quality Affect People With Health Conditions?

Air Monitoring

How Does Air Quality Affect People With Health Conditions?

Jun 02 2022

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a staggering 90% of the global population live in areas with air pollution that exceeds recommended safe limits. The trend of urbanisation which has occurred across the planet over the last few centuries may have accelerated progress – but it also poses a variety of health complications for those living in close proximity to one another.

Of course, those risks are even more pronounced for people who already suffer from pre-existing health conditions. This is because the fragile state of their respiratory, cardiovascular and other internal systems means that they are particularly susceptible to irritating or exacerbating their conditions, thus making them more likely to suffer extreme effects. Thankfully, the development of up-to-the-minute Air Quality Indexes (AQIs) around the world allows them to make informed decisions.

Greater risks

It’s important to recognise that air pollution poses a threat to everyone. However, it’s also true that there are certain segments of society who are more likely to be adversely affected by exposure to poor quality air than others. These include babies and young children, whose lungs are still developing, and elderly or infirm individuals, whose organs are less capable of dealing with toxins.

Aside from the very young and very old, those diagnosed with pre-existing health conditions are also more likely to suffer from poor quality air, especially if the diagnosis relates to a respiratory or cardiovascular complaint. Breathing in contaminants for these individuals could further damage their lungs, throat or other internal organs, thus exacerbating the ailment or even leading to new ones, such as cancer, heart disease or stroke.

Using the information available

As such, these vulnerable individuals must take extra special care to keep tabs on pollution levels in their area. It’s for this reason that monitoring networks play such a vital role in cities, since they can provide citizens with the data they need to make informed decisions about their day-to-day activities. The creation of comprehensive Air Quality Index (AQI) systems allows for this.

In the USA, the AQI contains a specific category of air quality aimed at those suffering health conditions, named “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”. Colour-coded orange, this assignation allows users to see straight away whether or not the air quality might pose health problems for them. While the Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI), which is the UK equivalent, does not contain a specific category for those with compromised immune systems, it does contain language which advises vulnerable groups to consider reducing, reducing or avoiding their exposure to poor quality air.

If you’re interested in learning more about the mechanics of how air quality is monitored and how emissions of harmful contaminants can be curbed, the Air Quality and Emissions (AQE) Show is set to take place in Telford in the UK later this year. Spanning two days, the event will cover the subject in far greater detail.


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