Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pittsburgh is No Longer a “Two Shirts a Day” Town!

A Typical "Two-Shirts a Day" Scene in  Pittsburgh
For those of us who grew up in dark and smoggy Pittsburgh, we can speak from first-hand experience about the positive changes in air quality over the past 40 years. Back in the day, our father wore a white shirt to his engineering office every morning and carried a second white shirt for the afternoon. The air was such a dense haze of polluted smoke that even a freshly laundered white shirt looked gray and grimy by lunch time.

Fortunately, that’s an old story.  Air quality has improved dramatically due to standards put forth in the Clean Air Act of the 1970’s. Each May, the American Lung Association supports Clean Air Month by sharing information about the importance of air quality and the negative impact pollution has on our health and well being.

Clearing the Air on Current Pollution Levels

For all of the great strides that have already been made in air quality improvement, the 2014 State of the Air  report card presents a mixed bag of air testing results from around the US. The good news is that many cities have really cleaned up their act in regards to reducing air pollution. The bad news is that some areas have actually gotten worse. Currently, over 150 million Americans live in areas with such dangerously polluted air that residents are at risk for heart disease, lung cancer, asthma attacks and chronic bronchitis. Infants, children, teenagers, outdoor workers, people over the age of 65 and those with diabetes, respiratory or cardiovascular disease are especially vulnerable to pollution-related illnesses.  Click here to see how your city measures up.

Clean Air Month Starts at Home

Remember, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, so even small changes can benefit your family’s health. Take action with these suggestions for improving your indoor air quality:

·         Have your home tested for radon, the leading cause of lung cancer.
·         Be sure that any appliance that burns gas is vented to the outdoors.
·         Run an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom.
·         Never leave your car idling in an attached garage.
·         Control moisture and humidity levels within your home to prevent the development of mold.
·         Avoid buying building products, carpets and furniture that off-gas inside your home.
·         Ditch the toxic cleaning supplies and go “green” when it’s time to clean.
·         Go natural and forget about those chemical air fresheners and artificially scented candles.
·         Leave the removal of lead paint and asbestos to the professionals.
·         If you are concerned that there is an air quality problem within your home, have a professional analysis conducted and don’t gamble with your health.