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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Reducing Air Pollution In and Outdoors

by Martine Delonnay

In the Earth’s lower atmosphere, near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight. Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. has not had clean air for 25 years, and the World Health Organization also stipulates that air pollution causes 2.7 million deaths annually.

How can we modify our lifestyle to limit or reduce air pollution?

1. Worldwide, buildings contribute around one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions (43 percent in the U.S. alone). Energy-efficient buildings and an improved cement-making process (such as using alternative fuels to fire up the kiln) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world and prevent them in the developing world.

2. The second leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S is transportation.  Moving closer to one’s work is one way to dramatically curtail transportation fuel needs. Use mass transit, or switch to walking, cycling or some other mode of transport that does not require anything other than human energy. Another option is to work from home or telecommute several days a week.

3. The easiest way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions is simply to buy less stuff. Cutting back on consumption results in fewer fossil fuels being burned to extract, produce and ship products around the globe.

4. University of Chicago researchers estimate that each meat-eating American produces 1.5 tons more greenhouse gases through their food choice than do their vegetarian peers. It takes far less land to grow the crops necessary to feed humans than livestock, allowing more room for planting trees.

5. Certain gadgets and appliances like televisions, stereo equipment, computers and battery chargers consume more energy when seemingly switched off, so better to unplug them instead. Purchasing energy-efficient gadgets can also save both energy and money—and thus prevent more greenhouse gas emissions.

Addressing indoor air pollution

To protect our health, take control in building a healthy home. The most common indoor house pollutants are para-dichlorobenzene found in mothballs and deodorants, styrene found in plastic, foam rubber, insulation, environmental tobacco and tetrachloroethylene liberated from dry cleaned clothes.

Toxins are attached to dust that is mostly non-detectable in the air. Reducing dust in the house, especially carpet dust, will dramatically improve the quality of the air. Limiting the area of carpet or replacing it with tile will promote better health and air purity.

When buying a house, it is necessary to inquire about previous water damage in order to treat any problem with mold. Musty smells, metal framed windows and leaky roofing are all indicators of the potential presence of mold.

Here are some guidelines to adopt that will have a positive impact on health preservation.

1.Change furnace filters every one to three months. High quality, low cost, disposable pleated filters are available in 1-inch, 2-inch and 4-inch size. (

2. Use air purifiers.

3. Do not use scented or strong cleaning supplies.

4. Do not smoke smoking indoors.

5. Do not wear shoes indoors.

Dr. Martine Delonnay is a naturopathic doctor. She has a special interest in bringing awareness to the mind-body connection using homeopathy, botanicals and lifestyle counseling, nutritional support in her practice. She can be reached at 617-401-5076 or [email protected]