How To Avoid Sitting In A Cloud Of Pollution Every Day, Even If You Live In A Big City

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In 2017, London breached its air pollution limit for the year in the first five days of January. Just take a minute to digest that factoid.

Just take a minute to digest that little, horrendous fact.

Glasgow, Oxford, Nottingham and Southampton have also all been cited for their unhealthily high pollution levels in recent times.

Pollution has been credited as being a greater threat to our lives than the recent ebola crisis, according to the World Health Organisation and, reports The Guardian, it's an even more prevalent issue than HIV.

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Unfortunately, like with global warming or even smoking, it's one of those 'invisible' issues, wherein the negative effects will likely rear their ugly heads years down the line, making it hard to associate our bad behaviour with the damaging repercussions.

While you might think that cycling around the metropolis is asking for trouble, what many people don't know is that it is often the air inside your home or office which has the highest concentration of pollution.

So, beyond quitting your job and moving out to the Cotswolds, what can you actually do to tackle the pollution in your immediate environment.

We asked to Ronald Ro, pollution specialist and founder of Awair - a product which measures the pollution around you and gives advice (via app) for making small changes that can make a big impact - for some advice.

If you live in a big polluted city, can small practical changes make a difference?

Small changes do make a difference. Even humidity levels are very important for a variety of reasons. The humidity can impact skin health, cold/flu occurrences, and even the development of toxic mold.

TIP: There are a few ways to alter the humidity in your house. Regularly opening windows on one side of the room as well as a door on the other will increase airflow through the space. Getting a houseplant can also help and if you really need it, you can buy a portable dehumidifier.

Even if we change our indoor environment, are we not just undoing all our hard work as soon as we step outside?

The truth is, we spend around 90 per cent of our day indoors. The problem is that indoor air can be five times more polluted than outside, so being able to monitor, manage, and control your indoor air can have a significant impact on your health.

Why is Carbon Dioxide bad for people?

CO2 levels have a significant impact on focus, productivity, and sleep quality. We all produce CO2 when we exhale, and if you are sleeping in a room with low ventilation, there is a good chance you will wake up groggy because high levels of CO2 can lead to poor sleep quality.

In the workplace, elevated CO2 levels have been shown to decrease focus and productivity. So the next time you feel tired or distracted in a meeting, crack a door/window and get some airflow going (and don't just blame the presenter).

TIP: One of the best things you can do at work, to reduce carbon dioxide levels, is to switch off your computer when it is not in use. A single computer left on all day will produce 1,500 pounds of CO2 per year.

Can tools that monitor your environment really help?

They help you to feel more in control and make changes.

Greg, one of our city-dwelling consumers recently sent us this feedback: 'I've been concerned with air quality after living in an apartment that wasn't built properly and was putting old construction materials in the air, making me sick unknowingly for a year...The inside halls of my apartment were being painted and my front door vents (I'm assuming on purpose) a lot of air, and my chemical sensor on this unit kicked up a few hundred points. I feel confident knowing that if there is something wrong in my air, I will now know about it. Instead of just living through it unaware.'

TIP: pollution also affects your skin. There are lots of beauty products you can buy which help to create a protective layer for your pores and face.

Awair is a small portable device which lets you assess your home or office space against 5 different pollution indicators. The corresponding app allows you to make adjustments to the environment to keep your air at a happy, safe level.

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