Up in arms about the air

Can of ecologic fresh air - cartoonHave you seen the photos? Delhi was enveloped in a haze of particulate matter. Its citizen’s lungs look as if they have been life-long chain-smokers. That’s in another country though. We’d never be so backwards, right? Think again. Here’s a blog about how dangerous the air is in Salt Lake City. Iowa has a problem, too, and with the powers that be in our current state and federal government, it won’t get any better. Look at the recent warnings in Iowa after July 4th.

Few things get my rage up like particulates and ignorant politicians. You can take a look here to see how long I have been talking about particulates. It’s hard to dislike a politician intensely and I try not to do so but Charles Grassley stands out as a man who is willfully ignorant about air pollution. And Iowa elects the man so dangerous to health over and over again. In fact, apparently the world does this as well.

Enough about him. Let’s take a look at a few causes of air pollution.

PM 2.5–otherwise known as fine particulates are a common source of pollution  They are the tiny red dots on this illustration.

From the epa https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/particulate-matter-pm-basics#PM

Once in your lungs they never leave, These things come from combustion–fossil fuels burning, forest and other fires, fireworks, cigarettes, and chemical air pollution from industry. In fact, these things not only hurt your lungs, they weaken your bones, too.

Here in Iowa, there are plenty of other types of particulates to worry about “Feed, bedding materials, dry manure, unpaved soil surfaces, animal dander, poultry feathers” from CAFOs are a mixture of “fecal matter, feed materials, pollen, bacteria, fungi, skin cells, silicates” that can cause “Chronic bronchitis, chronic respiratory symptoms, declines in lung function, organic dust toxic syndrome.”

Particulates aren’t only bad for our lungs. They help form clouds over humid areas and thus create more powerful storms. 

Additionally, chemical air pollution from the giant animal enclosures are exempt from pollution rules. The loophole was scheduled to be closed January 22 but it was unfortunately delayed.

And not caring about pollution is racist. I’ll say that again, it’s racist. 

It’s also bad for your health.

The air pollution regulations that began in the 1970s helped clear our air. But they aren’t enough and some are being rolled back. What can you do personally to help cut down on air pollution? Here are some ideas:

Turn off your car–don’t idle it. In fact, rethink car use and cut down where you can.

When you drive, keep your tires properly inflated.

Avoid wood smoke.

Eat free range meat.

Eat local.

Cut down on packaging and plastic.

Plant a tree.

Buy less on-line. Try to make more of your own things.

Take shorter showers and baths.

Un-plug appliances when not in use and turn off lights.

Don’t smoke.

Don’t use a leaf blower.

Use an air purifier.

Share a room–by that I mean, gather in one or two rooms of your home each night and turn off the lights in the other rooms.

Use a clothes dryer during periods of high pollution instead of hanging clothes out to dry.

Encourage your city to consider adopting drone and laser light shows to replace fireworks.

Talk about air pollution! Let people know about it! Sure, you might be called Debbie Downer but you’ll be a healthy downer.

Now that I look over the list, I see that there’s more I can do besides fume about politicians. After all, some of them are probably getting donations from a company that wants to make big bucks selling fresh air.

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