Air Pollution and Asthma

Addison Wallace, Section Editor

Air pollution is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as “any visible or invisible particle or gas found in the air that is not part of the natural composition of air.” Air pollution can come from anything such as a fire or dust in the air, and it affects everybody. People who don’t have asthma have shown that lung function decreases when the air quality is bad and people with asthma are at higher risk of having worse symptoms.

Cities with a lot of people have more air pollution than places with fewer people. Salt Lake City is in a valley that makes it harder for the air to dissipate, and usually it takes a storm or a strong wind to get rid of the pollution. If you don’t have asthma, the bad air quality can lead to asthma and other respiratory problems. The World Counts, a Denmark based organization that collects data on environmental issues, states that “…coughing and wheezing are common symptoms observed on city folks.“

Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes spasms in the lungs making it hard to breathe. Research in the past ten years has shown that the number of people with asthma has been rising. Asthma can be caused by allergies and air pollution. Research is still being done on what causes asthma and what different types of asthma exist. A theory known as the Hygiene Hypothesis stated that “…children who grew up in more sanitary places were more prone to asthma because their bodies treated dust and other harmless particles as deadly,” but more recent research shows that this is not true. 

Air pollution also affects animals, water, and the earth. To help reduce air pollution don’t let your car idle, carpool with friends, turn lights off when you are don’t need them, use solar energy, and recycle. Products like energy efficient light bulbs, solar electricity, rechargeable batteries, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies help reduce air pollution and are good for the environment.

The World Counts is a credible source to find companies that make environmentally friendly products.  You can visit them at