What's in the Air?
Ah, there's nothing like a breath of fresh air, right? Well, it all depends on what's in that air! Air pollution is a common problem in our modern society. And both you and your baby are affected by the quality of the air around you.
In a recent study at the Columbia University Center for Children's Environmental Health in New York, researchers evaluated sixty newborns whose mothers wore portable air monitors during their last trimester. They found that a baby's genetic makeup can be damaged by the polluted air his mother breathes during pregnancy. Additional studies have also linked air pollution to decreases in lung function and increases in heart attacks.
Still, it won't do you or your baby any good if you are stressed out about every breath you take. Breathe easier by knowing what to look for and what to do to protect yourself and your baby from air pollution.
Outdoor Air Quality
Outdoor air pollution occurs when the air in the atmosphere becomes contaminated with gases and particulates that don't belong there. It is caused by both natural and human activity. Natural causes of air pollution, such as volcano eruptions, soil erosion, and forest fires, emit toxic gases and particulates into the atmosphere.
But by and large, it is human activities, like fossil fuel combustion from cars and power plants, that account for most of the pollution in outdoor air. This is why outdoor air pollution is often greatest in and around cities where human concentrations are largest.
Indoor plants can help filter toxins out of your indoor air and improve the air quality for your whole family. But with a new baby on the way, it is important to look for plants that are safe for little children. Look for baby-safe indoor plants like spider plants, snake plants, wandering jews, begonias, geraniums, corn plants, and pothos.
Indoor Air Quality
If all of that information about outdoor air pollution has you headed for the indoors, it may alarm you to realize that indoor air pollutants are often more dangerous than those outside. Chemicals in your cleaning supplies, paint, furniture, and even in your household dust can become trapped inside your home, making the indoor air pollutant levels as much as 25 to 62 percent greater than outdoor levels.
Between work and home activities, most Americans spend an average of 80 to 90 percent of their time inside, making exposure to harmful indoor pollutants a serious concern for human health.