Air Quality Around the World

 

April 29 – May 3 is Air Quality Awareness Week, sponsored by the NOAA National Weather Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Forest Service, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This year’s theme is “Check the AQI & Get Outside” to encourage everyone to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) regularly. Today’s focus is “Air Quality Around the World.”


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 91% of the world breathes polluted air. And air pollution has been linked to several health issues, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma

Air pollution has a serious effect on children’s lungs. A recent study in the “Lancet Planetary Health Journal” found that traffic could be the cause of 4 million cases of asthma in children each year.

The Eastern Mediterranean region and Southeast Asia deal with the highest air pollution rates. They are sometime five times higher than the WHO’s limits.

Some groups are working to improve the world’s air quality:

  • The BreatheLife campaign is creating a network of the world’s cities and regions so they can share methods to improve their air quality.
  • The U.S. Department of State and EPA are also working to give people across the world access to air quality readings. They have installed air quality sensors in 34 U.S. embassies and consulates. And more are being installed. They will use the same color-coded index as AirNow. This will be helpful for both people with asthma who live in these areas. Travelers with asthma can also track air quality when they travel to these areas.

What do you think can be done to improve the world’s air quality and reduce asthma rates? Do you travel to areas where the air quality is poor? If so, how do you manage your asthma?

Webinar: Air quality, Asthma, and the EPA Air Quality Flag Program

Join the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments on May 20, 2019, at 1 pm ET as they discuss the impact of air quality on childhood asthma and ways to reduce risks during Asthma Awareness month. Information will also be provided about the EPA Air Quality Flag program that can help to reduce exposures to air pollution. Register here.

In addition, the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (MACCHE) and the EPA Region III are participating in the 2019 Air Quality Flag Program Spring Challenge. The first 30 schools in Region III that register during the challenge will receive free flag kits AIRNow.gov/flag

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