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Air pollutants are a problem for our health


Environmental and Occupational Health experts say that 99 percent of the world’s population lives among air that has a problem.[/caption]

The environment is one of the most important aspects of the life you live. Environmental and Occupational Health experts say that 99 percent of the world’s population lives among air that has a problem. This is the same air we all depend upon for life.

As the fires in Canada so expertly demonstrate, the environment is not just local. One can be affected from anywhere by the quality of the air. Many people have had their lives altered and changed by the pollutants in the air. Over the last few weeks, many outings were cancelled or rescheduled to take place inside, people felt ill, air travel was affected, school graduations outside were cancelled. Life has changed. What is more important is that the health of many has been altered in a negative way. People sought care for their respiratory problems. Their eyes were affected, their cardiovascular health was affected and even their mental health was affected.

Studies have shown just how much the air we breathe can affect our mental health. Anxiety may be increased by the pollutants in the air. Depression can also be increased by the pollutants in the air.

It has long been known that the pollutant in urban air has a detrimental effect on the health of its populations and this may even affect the blood pressure of people.

What are we to do when there is no clean air to breathe? Hopefully this will be a wakeup call and people will rally around the environment and make sure that the quality of the air we all breathe is improved. The health of all in so many fundamental ways is truly dependent upon this.

Check the air quality of your area. Your phone can give you a number and tell you, its significance. The air quality is measured from 0-500. The higher the number, the worse the air quality. If the number is between 0-50, the air quality is considered good. That would equate to a Code Green. Code Yellow signifies moderate concern with a score of between 51-100. Code Orange equates to a score of 101 to 150. This means though that members of sensitive groups such as those with lung disease or heart disease may be at risk, but the general public is okay.

Code Red is when the numbers are between 151-200 and the air is unhealthy for some of the general public, but everyone should reduce their exposure to pollutants, especially those with health issues like asthma. The Purple code refers to ranges of 201 to 300. Here the risk to health is for everyone.

Code Maroon is when the number is 301 and above. The air is considered a hazard to everyone and serves as a warning of emergency conditions. Know your air quality numbers and codes. Breathe with caution.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at