Can dirty indoor air hurt your lungs?

Can dirty indoor air hurt your lungs?

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal concluded that everyday pollutants found in your home could lead to accelerated lung aging, reduced lung function and increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“This study reminds us that environmental pollutants we inhale each day are triggers that advance our lung age and increase our risk for COPD,” says Dr. Senora Nelson, who practices family medicine at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “In addition to nicotine use, second-hand smoke exposure as well as environmental air pollutants can increase one’s risk of lung disease.”

COPD is a group of progressive lung diseases, all characterized by breathlessness. This group of incurable diseases includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and non-reversible asthma. When diagnosed and treated early, many people are able to manage their condition and enjoy life.

Mold, pollen, household products and building materials such as asbestos, formaldehyde and lead can cause breathing discomfort, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Dr. Nelson suggests taking precautions when these pollutants are in your environment and using air purifiers with clean filters in your home to reduce indoor pollution.

Although more research is needed to establish a definitive link between COPD, decreased lung function and ambient air pollution, Dr. Nelson recommends periodic pulmonary function tests and pulmonary consult evaluations to detect or assess any occurring lung damage early.

Want to learn more about your risk for lung cancer? Take a free online quiz.

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  1. Jennifer Starin August 21, 2019 at 8:00 am · Reply

    I completely agree that indoor air pollutants are harmful to health.
    One thing people don’t think about is perfumes and scented products we use every day.
    As a person who has severe reactions to perfumes and scents, I think every hospital and clinic should have a “no scents” policy for all employees. I believe there is a huge percentage of the population who also suffers from the affects of scents, but they don’t even know it.

  2. I started smoking at 16. In my 20s I was trying to smell better with scented candles. At 36, i had a lung removed from cancer. I quit smoking and started using air purifiers. Next March will be 25 years!

  3. Start using herbs instead of drugs….Do your research. Also read up COPD HERBAL REMEDY from BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE, Couple drops on tongue replaces an inhalers. Asthma too. Read up on this! All lung problems. Educate yourself and take your own life back.

  4. I agree with Jennifer, as an employee who has terrible reactions to perfumes and scents, it can be almost unbearable to sit next to someone who takes a bath in strong perfumes/soaps/hand sanitizers.

    It’s not just a matter of itchy watering eyes and sneezing, but a throat that closes up and after effects that can last for hours/days even after getting away from the original cause.

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About the Author

Cassie Richardson
Cassie Richardson

Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on the Public Affairs team for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.