As humans, instinctive behaviors are something that we don’t question. Making noises, grasping for things near our reach, and crying to express pain are all examples of things we do unconsciously. Breathing is a non-learned, genetic behavior that we do without giving it a second thought. Have you ever wondered why something smells the way it does? Or what it is exactly that you smell? What about how what you’re inhaling could be affecting your health?
According to the American Lung Association, California is one of the worst polluted states in our nation. Thousands of cargo ships, construction cranes, freight trains, and tractor-trailers that rush by heavily congested highways are partly to blame for California’s pollution epidemic, especially in Southern California. All of this nonstop activity creates a nightmare for residents’ health. Diesel dusts along with other potentially lethal fuels create breathing problems, which often lead to asthma diagnoses.
That’s what happened to a mother whose infant almost died from lack of oxygen. In 2013, Discover Magazine interviewed Martha Cota, a community educator for the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma. She detailed the horrific accounts of her son’s childhood as he suffered with severe asthma.
Like most parents who have children with asthma, Cota was devastated to see her child endure sleepless nights. She didn’t know what the root cause of his asthma was, and it flared up so often that her son was missing out on crucial memories. Desperate for an answer, she teamed up with Children’s Environmental Health Center at the University of Southern California, who were conducting a long-term study on the link between chronic exposure to air pollution and respiratory illnesses. USC researchers and studies proved what Cota said she already knew; that intense outdoor air pollution almost always initiated asthma in anyone who was exposed to it for long periods of time.
Outdoor air quality is certainly a concern, but it isn’t the only one. Indoor air quality deserves as much if not more attention and can be just as dangerous. Unlike outdoor pollution, indoor air quality can be prevented and controlled. Harmful exposures to things like paint smells, paint strippers, and even furniture can create irritations and health problems. Emissions from these sources often result in the rapid spread of toxins. In order to protect you and your loved ones, be sure to research products before purchasing and familiarize yourself with the vilest pollutants.
In attempt to reduce negative health effects and create a cleaner living environment, California continues to impose stricter air quality and climate laws. Air quality whether indoors or outdoors can be detrimental to one’s well being. The next time you catch yourself breathing in something that makes you think twice, question it. If it doesn’t smell right, chances are that it isn’t.
More information on Indoor Air Quality and our #choosewaterbased campaign