The French are the world's largest consumers of medicines. 42% of those over 18 years old take at least one drug everyday. This tendency to over-medication and overprotection weakens the body and the immune system. Is that true also for air purification?
Do not start panicking during pollution episodes
France regularly experiences episodes of pollution when one or more pollutants are in excessive concentration in the air. We should not panic when it happens.
Let us restore some truths.
- The number of pollution episodes has not increased significantly in recent years. In fact, their treatment in the French media has improved. In the 2000s, pollution alerts were mainly addressed to motorists. Now, the media insists more on the dangers of pollution to health and communicate the good practices to adopt.
- All episodes of pollution are not equal. Pollution is a major risk for all when the alert threshold is exceeded. But the procedure triggered when the information threshold is reached concerns only the most vulnerable (infants, children, pregnant women, people over 65 years) and sensitive people (cardiac, asthmatic, bronchitis, respiratory insufficiency). The latters, already weakened, may have their troubles aggravated.
These clarifications should not make us forget the ravages of pollution. Every year, air pollution causes 48,000 deaths in France. It is responsible for symptoms ranging from sleep and respiratory disorders to hospitalizations.
Air pollution affects our health every day
Most of the health impact of air pollution is due to daily exposure. Episodes of extreme pollution remain relatively rare.
Pollution is always present, both inside and outside.
- Outside, road traffic, individual heating and agriculture contribute to high levels of pollution in winter and spring.
- Inside, the air is even more polluted: 5 to 10 times more. To the outside air are added the internal pollutants. Some are emitted continuously, in low concentrations (emissions of furniture, building materials and decoration). Others are present punctually, and their level depends on our activities (tobacco smoke, DIY, maintenance). These pollutants are all the more harmful if the room is poorly ventilated.
Particles are the greatest risk
WHO sees particulate matter as the greatest risk in air pollution. A distinction is made between "PM10", "PM2.5" and "PM1.0" depending on particle size in micrometers. All pollute indoor air.
- PM10, 10 microns or less, includes very fine and ultrafine particles. They find their sources outside (pollens, exhaust gases, various fumes) but mainly inside (mold spores, tobacco smoke, heating). 6 times thinner than a hair, they can penetrate the bronchi.
- PM2.5 and PM1.0, so-called fine and ultrafine particles, are more dangerous. Most often emitted indoors (tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, combustion of incense and candles), they are easily developed in humid rooms. They can remain in suspension for several days and penetrate the pulmonary alveoli.
The particles are not visible but their symptoms are real. Exposure to particles can result in tingling of the eyes, irritation of the nose and throat, or nausea and coughing. In the long term, the effects of particles are more pernicious: cancers, decreased respiratory capacity, cardiovascular diseases ... Above all, exposure to particles significantly increases the risk of sensitization to allergens and respiratory allergies. As a reminder, each year, 62% of the consultations in allergist's offices concern this pathology. The number of allergies itself continues to climb. By 2050, WHO estimates that 50% of the world's population will be affected. Protecting yourself from particles means protecting yourself from allergy and all other undesirable effects of particles.
We can clean our indoor air by adopting the right reflexes
We do not control outdoor pollution, but we can clean indoor air by adopting the right reflexes.
- We recommend that you air your rooms at least 20 minutes a day. Do it preferably in the morning before 9am or in the evening after 8pm, when the pollutants are less present outside.
- Limit the risk of condensation in your home. Molds develop in humid and poorly ventilated rooms, and can lead to allergies due to spores.
- In addition equip yourself with an air purifier. It protects you from pollutants and their harmful effects on health.