As many people are working from home and practicing social distancing, you might find yourself spending more time outdoors enjoying the fresh air. But have you stopped to think about the impact clean air has on our lives?
More than 40% of people live where pollution levels are too often dangerous to breathe, according to the American Lung Association. Poor air quality can irritate your eyes and nose, aggravate asthma and lung conditions, and even shorten life expectancy. An EPA report to Congress concluded that poor air quality may cost the U.S. tens of billions dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.
Every May since 1972, the American Lung Association celebrates Clean Air Month to educate people about the importance of clean air. Here are 10 ways you can participate in Clean Air Month and improve the air quality in your workplace, community, and beyond:
- Check out the State of the Air where you live and work using the American Lung Association’s interactive website.
- Celebrate Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 15. Or, if you're working from home, avoid the crowds and make time for a bike ride.
- Open the windows to let fresh air in, especially after painting, cooking, or cleaning. Proper ventilation is crucial to healthy indoor air.
- Switch to low-VOC cleaning products. There are many low-VOC products on the market that work as well as traditional industrial cleaners.
- Add air purifiers and air purifying plants to your office.
- Avoid scented candles and air fresheners, and choose fragrance-free cleaners. Scented products can irritate allergies and asthma.
- Take steps to reduce your energy usage, such as installing LED lighting or energy efficient heating and cooling systems. Reducing energy usage helps reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Consider switching to clean energy sources such as wind and solar. The EPA’s Green Power Locator can help you to identify different green power supply options for your business.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Conserving resources helps reduce both air and water pollution.
- Post to social media using the hashtag #cleanairmonth.