Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Will Cleaner Indoor Air Help Us Live Longer?

Cleaner, pollutant-free air adds almost 5 months to our lives. So say the results of an interesting study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, headed by an epidemiologist at Brigham Young University (BYU), tracked the correlation between particulate pollution levels and life expectancy over 2 decades in 51 U.S. cities. Researchers say it’s the first to illustrate that reducing air pollution can translate into a longer lifespan.

During the course of the research, which spanned from 1978 to 2001, 51 metropolitan U.S. cities reduced their pollution levels by one-third, slashing the amount of small airborne particles from 21 micrograms per cubic meter to 14 micrograms per cubic meter. All the while, the life expectancy in these cities saw an average increase of 2.7 years, from 74.3 to 77 years of age. According to the findings, as much as 4.8 months of this increase can be attributed to cleaner air. Although environmental health experts point out that BYU’s report doesn’t exactly prove that cleaner air contributes to a longer life, many agree that it makes a strong scientific argument to continue reducing air pollution.

Residents and office-dwellers should note that reducing the amount of harmful airborne particles indoors is just as important as tackling them outdoors. After all, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the air inside our homes and buildings is roughly 10 times more polluted than the air outside. While we may not have a lot of control over the amount of pollution we encounter outdoors, we can definitely control how much is present in our indoor environments day after day.

Things like regular house cleaning, vacuuming with a CRI certified vacuum, cleaning your air ducts and reducing exposure to cleaning chemicals all will help improve your indoor air quality.