A Breath of Fresh Air?

How the Air We Breath is Making Us Sick and Steps to Take for Protection

Amy Rothenberg ND
FieldNotes From Natural Medicine
5 min readNov 12, 2020

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Photo by Alfred Kenneally on Unsplash

Last month’s publication of The State of Global Air/2020 outlines the degree to which air quality negatively impacts both individual and public health the world over. This detailed report is part of an ongoing effort to monitor air pollution and its broad health impacts. It is a siren call-to-action for environmental policy and enforcement and for the development of creative solutions for both current and centuries-old habits that have dire effect on health.While much focus is on cooking indoors over open fires without ventilation in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, there are plenty of other sources of air pollution in both the developed and developing world, due to the burning of fossil fuels, chemical-laden discharges from industry, and other contributors, affecting people the globe over.

In the United States, the elongated and extreme wildfire season is putting many people at risk with ongoing exposure to smoke and particulate matter related to burning trees and natural landscape, homes and other materials.

Short term and long term exposure to pollution makes people sick. There is strong evidence that air pollution is an enormous contributor to mortality related to numerous leading causes of death such as described in the report including: “the noncommunicable diseases of diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), lung cancer, and ischemic heart disease and one communicable disease — lower-respiratory infection.”

Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

One of the most disturbing new statistics cited is how particulate matter, one aspect of air pollution, impacts pregnancy, causing early delivery, low birth weight and other medical issues associated with infant mortality. Startingly, as much as 20% of worldwide infant mortality is association with air pollution. That’s 20% of half a million babies who perish in the first month of life.

When we start to pay attention to possible sources air pollution that negatively impact health, we start to see areas where we can make modification and improvement. At very…

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Amy Rothenberg ND
FieldNotes From Natural Medicine

American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s 2017 Physician of the Year. Teacher, writer and advocate for healthy living. www.nhcmed.com