November 2, 2018

How measuring air pollutants like PM 2.5 can protect your health

Julie Spitkovsky, LinkedIn

Breathing air contaminated with particulates, for 30 minutes a day for 14 days is enough to start noticing health problems.

Moms: For expecting moms in early to mid pregnancy, a new study shows the fetal thyroid gland is susceptible to changes in airborne particulates, affecting the thyroid development in utero.

Children & Multiple Sclerosis: According to the Journal Annals of Clinical and Translation Neurology, pollutants including fine particulate matter are associated with higher odds of developing pediatric MS, increasing the risk of the disease by 3.85-to-10.1 fold, depending on the pollutant and its concentration in the air. Children and teenagers at are risk, whose first clinical attacks occur before the age of 18. The study went on to identify urban areas with increased levels of air pollution with increased odds of developing MS. People who developed pediatric-onset MS lived near sites that produced a higher load of air pollutants (81,000 tons). This is because particulate matter is created from combustion through industry and transportation sources. Particulate matter could stimulate the immune response to mis- target the brain and spinal cord, or directly enter and cause damage to these tissues.

Diabetes: Studies show the link between particulate matter and diabetes, which starts with exposure of 2.4 μg/m3, or micrograms per cubic meter of air (even though the EPA limit of PM 2.5 is 12 μg/m3). PM is so harmful because it is so small and can contain toxic metals. The size allows it to penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, and circulate to different organs causing inflammation and even insulin resistance. When the insulin resistance becomes severe, the pancreas becomes unable to pump out enough insulin to compensate, and diabetes kicks in. In the study, 21 percent of people exposed to 5 -10 μg/m3 of particulate matter developed diabetes, and 24 percent of people exposed to 12 μg/m3 of particulate matter developed diabetes.

Kidney Disease: Long-term exposure to Particulate Matter 2.5 is also now considered a major risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease. Environmental pollutants like PM 2.5 have a direct impact on the heart, lungs, and blood circulation, which is first sensed by the kidneys. Since the kidney’s primary function is to pump and filter out toxins from the blood, the inability to do so increases the risk of membranous nephropathy (an immune disorder of the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure) and rapid decline in renal function.

How to watch your PM levels?

For the first time, anyone can have access to air pollution data anytime, anywhere from the web, iPad or phone, so they are best equipped to make real-time decisions about their health. Airthinx is revolutionizing the Indoor Air industry with a low-cost professional air quality device, providing accurate & precise monitoring at room level of 9 air pollutants (PM 1.0, PM 2.5 and PM 10, Carbon Dioxide, Formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds, Temperature, Pressure & Humidity). It’s simple to install, works directly out of the box, and has built-in 3G and wifi, so it is always connected to the cloud and collecting data.

For more information visit