According to a study that the British Journal of Psychiatry published, air pollution increases hospitalisation risks for individuals who have recently been diagnosed with a mental health problem. The study was conducted among 13,000 south London residents.
Air pollution is a combination of gases and small particles such as carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and particulate matter (PM). It affects human health in many ways – respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues like abnormal heart rhythms and a strained heart due to high blood pressure, and asthma or – for those who already have it – aggravated asthma.
Mental health issues that can arise due to exposure to air pollution include anxiety, depression, and dementia caused by a decrease in intelligence. In children, the effect is on their cognitive intelligence, which can lead to poor learning abilities.
One of the major sources of air pollution is road transport, an example of which is the 2015 Dieselgate emissions scandal that involved Volkswagen. The German car manufacturer was found to have installed defeat devices in their diesel vehicles in order to cheat on emissions tests results. In lab tests, the aforementioned devices automatically suppressed the vehicle’s emissions. In real-world driving conditions, however, the automobiles’ nitrogen oxides emissions were well above the legal limit. Other manufacturers were also implicated, including Mercedes-Benz, although their executives have always firmly denied any truth to the allegations of a Mercedes emissions scandal.
To address these problems, the UK government has launched a number of campaigns designed to reduce air pollution. The Clean Air Zone is one of these, as well as the Mayor of London’s ULEZ or Ultra Low Emission Zone.
You can do your part and contribute to the campaign by lowering your exposure to air pollution and following these six steps:
- Find out everything you can about the air quality in your area.
Measure the air quality in your area by using a portable monitor. This will help you determine which places you regularly visit expose you to high levels of toxic air. Once you have these details, start making changes to your route. Look for alternative streets or areas that have safer air.
While walking is ideal, there are instances when you need to ride to work or your appointment. Instead of driving your own vehicle, you can carpool or take public transportation. And if you have one, ride your bike.
- Remove particles in your home by vacuuming regularly.
If you have rugs and/or carpets in your home, have them vacuumed regularly. Vacuuming will help remove critters and particles that can cause allergies. The presence of bed bugs, fleas, dust mites, and moths in your rugs and carpets are signs that you haven’t been cleaning as often as necessary.
To ensure the particles in your home are eliminated, find a vacuum cleaner that comes with an allergen retention feature. This assures you that the particles won’t leak out after the cleaner sucks them up.
Vacuuming your place regularly will protect you from allergens coming from polluted air.
- Protect your home from damp and mould.
If there is damp and mould in your home and these are left unattended, they can cause health issues like asthma and other respiratory issues. Additionally, areas with damp and mould can invite dust mites, cockroaches, fleas, and moths.
Look for mould in areas where the ceiling or walls have water stains.
The best solution for such problems is to get a dehumidifier. You can choose to go with a desiccant or a refrigerant dehumidifier. The refrigerant type is ideal for heated rooms or areas. A desiccant is used specifically for cold and damp rooms.
For severe damp and mould, ask for help from specialists, or a repairman. If you are renting, get in touch with your landlord and request for repairs.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm.
If you use LPG, wood, oil, and other fuel-burning boilers, you need to install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. CO is tasteless and has no smell. It’s not easy to recognise, which makes it even more dangerous.
When left untreated, carbon monoxide can cause nausea, tiredness, shortness of breath, and confusion. With a CO alarm, you will be able to gauge the level of or if there is carbon monoxide present.
- Get an air purifier.
Aside from a dehumidifier, you should also purchase an air purifier for your home. Like dehumidifiers, they can help prevent allergens from invading your home. It can also prevent or remove polluting particles.
Choose an air purifier that has carbon filters, so it can trap foul odours and toxic gases. Additionally, ensure that the purifier you choose has HEPA or high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter.
- File a diesel emissions claim.
If you believe that your vehicle is involved in the emissions scandal, visit your manufacturer’s website and verify if your car is on the list. Some manufacturers have a page dedicated to the affected vehicles list. For example, there is a separate page for Mercedes compensation claims in the said manufacturer’s site.
Once you are done verifying – and confirmed – get in touch with the emissions compensation experts at Emissions.co.uk who are trained to guide and help you every step of the way. Working with their team will increase your chances of a successful claim.