The Health Consequences of Air Pollution
Air pollution impacts many of the organs and systems in our body. These impacts can be acute (e.g. causing heart attack, coughing or shortness of breath) or can cause chronic problems (e.g., heart and lung disease). Health problems related to air pollution are related to the dose of air pollution that we are exposed to. If we are exposed for a prolonged period, or if we breathe an increased concentration, this increases the risk of health impacts.
Kamloops has periods of unacceptable air quality that impact human health, the environment and visibility. In our area particulate air pollution is arguably the biggest air quality issue.
According the to the BC Air Quality Website: « Even areas that meet the national standard of ‘good’ air quality may not be good enough. Scientists have found that low levels of particulate matter in the air can heighten the risk of lung and heart disease. »
Historically, doctors thought that lung problems were the most serious problem associated with air pollution. Further research has linked many other problems to air pollution; the research is ongoing, and more information is being discovered all the time.
We have summarized some of the health impacts of air pollution below in plain language. Because of this some of the findings have been simplified. We have included a reference list so that those who are interested can find the primary research more easily.