AirPop was founded in 2015 with the goal of providing the best respiratory protection that is made for everyone - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or age.
Outside of designing protective products, we've also done our best to provide free-to-access resources to raise awareness around what we consider to be one of the most pressing health concerns we face globally.
With World Health Day just around the corner, we wanted to bring attention to this health concern which we feel is often overlooked - air pollution.
Air Pollution impacts 99% of the world’s population, and it has a greater impact on global health than smoking, war, or HIV.
Although it’s easy to pass off air pollution as something that doesn’t impact us personally, it’s a global issue which is damaging our health whether we know it or not.
Despite having such a major impact on the individual level as well as economic and social levels, air pollution still doesn't garner the attention it deserves and needs.
Why do we believe air pollution is an issue that need more attention? Here are just a few reasons:
- Although air pollution disproportionately impacts developing countries, nearly all first-world countries exceed WHO air quality guidelines too.
- Air pollution shortens life expectancy by one year. (source)
- Air pollution can slip past our body’s defences, penetrating deep into our respiratory and circulatory system, damaging our lungs, heart and brain. (source)
- Poor air quality can impact every organ in the human body. (source)
- 99% of the world’s population breathes air exceeding internationally set guidelines. (source)
- Air pollution accounts for at least 7 million deaths worldwide annually. (source)
- There is no ‘safe’ level of air pollution. Even in low concentrations, air pollution impacts our health.
- Air pollution threatens human health more than smoking, HIV or war. (source)
- None of the 100 biggest cities in the world meets WHO air quality guidelines. (source)
When we discuss air pollution, we often hear the response that 'air pollution and its health impacts are unavoidable'. However, this is not true - on a societal level we can combat air pollution and on a personal level we can learn how to protect ourselves.
Although the current state of global air quality may seem bleak, there are also many success stories from countries and cities that have vastly improved their air quality and, therefore, the health of locals.
- Particulate pollution in China dropped by 29% within six years. This was caused by introducing strict air pollution policies and is assisted by a large-scale change to clean energy such as solar. (source)
- In the U.S., common ambient air pollutants have dropped significantly since 1980. Some particles have seen an almost 100% improvement in air quality over the past four decades. (source)
- Montreal saw emissions fall by 54% in a short period of only five years (2008-2013). This was largely achieved by expanding tree cover and moving vehicles from petrol to electrically powered. (source)
How can we protect ourselves?
It is clear from the above that many of us unfortunately just cannot avoid polluted areas, being aware of air pollution and the harm it can cause is the first step.
One easy way to reduce your exposure is to avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. Since we inhale more air when active, exercise is a particularly high-risk activity during high pollution days. So, if possible, find an indoor venue or avoid exercise until pollution levels are lower.
Most of the health dangers of air pollution have been directly attributed to fine particle concentrations. When in these areas, it’s recommended to ensure that you have certified well-fitting ace masks ready to protect you and your family.
The first thing to look for is the certification that a mask holds. The most common certificates are N95, KN95, KF94 and FFP2. All of these certifications are roughly equivalent but are from different regions
Nobody likes wearing a mask and It is therefore beneficial to find a mask that balances filtration, fit and comfort. AirPop masks designed with these three of these pillars in mind. AirPop masks are certified KN95 and provide filtration in excess of the standard.
They are also highly breathable and comfortable to wear even after long periods, with flexible nose seals, adjustable ear loops and a dome shape to keep the mask off your face for easier breathing and speaking.
For air pollution especially, reusable masks with replaceable filters are a fantastic choice. These masks tend to be cheaper in the long run and are also more environmentally friendly.