Monday, August 15, 2011

More than 2000 unhealthy air alerts declared in the U.S. so far this year

Bad air outdoors can lead to poor
indoor air quality as well.
It seems no community is immune to bad air in 2011. From national parks to cozy sea-side suburbs more than 2,000 “code orange” air quality alerts occurred nationwide in just the first seven months of this year, mostly due to smog.

Code orange means it unsafe for children, older adults and people with breathing problems to go outside.

The Natural Resources Defense Council analyzed government air pollution data and found that California and New Jersey lead the country in dangerous air days.

However, rural states such as Maine, Vermont and Kansas also had a number of dangerous air days this year, partly because of smog blown in from other states.

Surprisingly, nine national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia National Park had dangerous air days this year because of smog blown in from other areas.

“The bottom line is that we have way too many days in way too many places when the air is unsafe for our kids,” said NRDC Clean Air Director John Walke. “The EPA needs to quit stalling on tougher smog standards promised years ago and protect our children, our elderly and all of us.”

Under standards set in 1997, the EPA considers air to be unhealthy if levels of ozone - the primary ingredient in smog - reach 84 parts per billion.

The Bush administration lowered the ozone standard to 75 parts per billion in 2008, but ignored unanimous recommendations of its science advisors that a truly protective standard needed to be set within 60-70 parts per billion.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed adopting more protective standards within that range, and the agency is expected to announce its decision soon.

For detailed data on the NRDC analysis, see here.

Indoor air more polluted than outdoor air

AllerAir's air purifiers with carbon and
HEPA help clean the ambient air.
The EPA's own studies have also shown that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, so what does this latest analysis mean for our indoor air quality?

“We can reasonably draw the conclusion that this dangerous pollution is also making its way indoors,” says Stephanie Bristow, an Air Quality Expert with AllerAir.

“Our homes today are so tightly sealed, that this pollution is actually being trapped inside and if you aren’t filtering your air, unfortunately your lungs are acting as your air filter.”

Bristow recommends either an AllerAir room air purifier with HEPA and activated carbon or a whole home unit which can be ducted into an existing HVAC system.

“Today an air cleaner is just as vital as in your home as proper humidity levels and ventilation,” she says. “Ignoring your air quality is no longer an option.”

Interested in learning more about improving your indoor air quality with a high efficiency air purifier?
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