Beware: You may be breathing in toxic fumes


If the air smells bad, don’t just wait to adjust. Get out of the fumes if possible! Air pollution pollution is a serious modern human health hazard. It has been linked to lung cancer, brain damage, and heart disease. While researching this subject for a public speaking class I was shocked by it’s severity. Air pollution the number one environmental factor detrimental to human health! It’s not only outside from factories or car exhaust, but indoor pollution is supposedly even worse. Indoor pollution might occur from indoor cooking, abundant use of cleaning products or hazardous jobs. According to the 2010 Study for Global Disease Burden indoor air pollution was the leading environmental risk factor, and outside particulate matter air pollution was the second.

The US EPA defines outdoor air pollution by the presence of certain chemicals. These are particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Their most common major sources include car exhaust and industrial facilities. For example, particulate matter comes from car exhaust and larger inhalable particles can be found near highways. Lead presence is also measured. However, it’s most common modern source is airplanes and lead smelters. US laws prohibiting lead’s use in cars has decreased ambient levels lead in the air by 94 percent. Additionally, the improvement in US air quality has been directly linked to a subsequent increase in life expectancy.

A study of Mexico City’s children revealed 56 percent had alzheimer’s-like brain lesions from air pollution, and displayed cognitive dificets. When they examined animals who had been living in Mexico City’s air it was found 57 percent had these lesions. Additionally, brain dissection revealed particulate matter deposition and damage resulting from chronic inflammation by pollution.

Air pollution is not just linked with mental impairment. Air pollution gives people cancer, and causes children to have malformed lungs! It has even been implicated in heart disease. These are just some diseases with air pollution scientifically proven to be the culprit, the actual detriment to humanity could be more.

Upon encountering someone wearing such heavy perfume that they smell like a restroom, consider getting away. Maybe it’s not so harmless? Perfume clogs the lungs temporarily and deprives the body of oxygen. If one is in an airtight room with a open bottle of perfume, it can kill a person by causing asyxphiatrism. Likely one won’t often encounter such airtight conditions, and the perfume will diffuse away. However, perfume also clongs your sense of smell, so you become less aware of other polluting toxins in the air. Smell is part of the body’s natural defense mechanism for detection of harmful chemicals in the air. Perhaps there’s a sound reason human being evolved this sense? Possibly, it’s best left intact for human health. Also, though car exhaust is what all the scientific evidence indicates as harmful, I wouldn’t be surprised if chemicals in atleast certain perfumes have effects harmful as car exhaust.

It has been suggested that lead poisoning was the end of Roman Empire. Thousands of years back ancient roman society adopted the use of lead pipes which alegedly poisoned their drinking water. This was conjectured to have poisoned their thinking prowess, and led to the dissolution of their once vulnerable state. Similarly, perhaps air pollution is actually a primary factor holding back modern society? Just like lead, air pollution has been linked to health problems which include cognitive deficits.

While air pollution here may not be as bad as Mexico City, it could still pose health risk. A highway runs right next to Bellevue College, which according to the EPA is a major danger area for particulate matter pollution.  There are some stops right here on campus . Some students may find themselves out on the highway waiting for a bus breathing in this particulate matter. Whereever possible, seek fresh air!