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Climate Change and Air Quality

Climate change is impacting many parts of our lives, but air quality is one area where we could see some of the most important and consequential changes. As the earth’s atmosphere warms, we see new challenges to air pollution and air quality that negatively affects overall public health.


Which Air Purifiers Have the Smallest Carbon Footprint?

Being energy efficient while also effectively cleaning your indoor air of air pollution is challenging since you need to move a lot of air through high quality filters. And that is not easy to do without using a lot of energy.


Energy Star Certified

Devices can be Energy Star Certified meaning the device has been certified to use less energy than a certain threshold. Energy Star Certified means that the device you're buying saves energy and is a preferred product on the market. 

There are obvious advantages to buying an Energy Star Certified product like doing your part to help protect the environment. Buying an air purifier that is Energy Star Certified will help you save money especially in the winter when you're indoors and running your heater more often. 


mod+ Air Purifier

The mod+ air purifier has a sleek cylindrical design and only uses 77 watts of energy. Despite its low power usage it can remove up to 99.4% of airborne particles including smoke, VOCs, and pet dander using its high efficiency air filter and a .

The mod jr. air purifier is even more energy efficient at 50 watts of energy. It is the same as the mod except it covers a smaller space at 878 square feet with 2 air changes per hour.

Both the mod and mod jr. can be used anywhere in the house including bedrooms and basements. They will efficiently clean the air of your home of any indoor air pollutants. 

How Does Climate Change Impact Air Quality

When fossil fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, which can build in the earth’s atmosphere. This causes a steady increase in the earth’s temperature, an effect we have been witnessing for many years. Acting like a blanket, this carbon dioxide traps heat and disrupts many of the connected elements of our atmosphere and our world.

While we are just starting to understand the effects, we know that climate change is increasing the levels of air pollution and decreasing overall air quality. 

Climate change is having a negative effect on air quality, and making the air we breathe less healthy. This is happening for many reasons, and creating three specific types of pollutants that increases overall air pollution.   


1. Increased Pollen

Pollen is a common air pollutant that impacts many across the country and the globe. While pollen from trees and grasses occur naturally, global warming is increasing their frequency and severity. Warmer weather means longer growing seasons for numerous plants and increasing the length of time that plants will release this allergen.

Trees use pollen for reproduction. In the spring, when trees sense warm weather and the changes of the season, they release pollen that is light enough to float on the air. For many people, this is not a wondrous time of glorious walks in the woods, but a season of sneezing, coughing, and wheezing.

Pollen by itself is a generally harmless substance, however many of our immune systems respond with severe over-reactions and it can greatly affect human health.

Unfortunately, warmer temperatures in certain areas, such as the northeast United States, are making allergies more common because of global warming. According to a chart from Climate Central, the growing season for pollen, which is enhanced by greenhouse gas emissions, has been getting larger and larger for decades.

Their data shows that 83% of cities that were surveyed experienced lengthened freeze-free seasons since 1970. Since then, the typical city has seen an increase in the growing seasons of two weeks. This is a trend that is seen all across the country, not just in select locations.

Cities ranging from El Paso, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are seeing increases in the growing season, with many seeing an increase of almost an entire month. In fact, cities that include Bend, Oregon and Las Cruces, New Mexico are seeing increases over two entire months!

The organization makes the claim that across the board there have been general increases in the freeze-free seasons since the early 20th century, but it has lengthened the most in the western United States, becoming about 19 days longer in most areas of the Southwest, and roughly 16 days longer in part of the Northwest. As the period of freeze-free time has lengthened due to global warming, so too has the ragweed season, which means pollen sufferers are having a much harsher experience every year.

Their data also shows that has the freeze-free time has become longer, the allergy seasons has increased significantly. In Bend, Oregon, for example, they claim the time has extended by 95 days since 1970 to 2018. This is an example of the impact of climate change.


2. Smoke from Wildfires

As the atmosphere experiences higher temperatures, there is also an increased chance that we will see more wildfires as one of the impacts of climate change. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says that wildfires are burning more than twice the area that they did in 1970, and the typical season is now roughly two and a half months longer creating more air pollution.

Much of the change is caused by an earlier snowmelt, which means wood and other natural fuel for fires is drier for longer. This allows fires to ignite easier, and allows them to burn at a much fiercer capacity. Their information shows that with every celsius degree increase in temperature, the median burned areas can be increased by 600% in some areas, but this stat only applies to certain types of forests; not all.

The increase in wildfires, caused in part by heat waves, can lead to many different issues. As the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says, 11 forest fires in the United States have caused over $1 billion in damage, which is mainly caused by the destruction of homes, buildings, and other forms of infrastructure.

These fires have ravaged communities, leaving many people with no roofs above their heads, and while attention has been given to wealthy celebrities, most people who lost their homes do not have the significant financial resources to rebuild their lives.

It appears that the fires are getting progressively worse.

Wildfires are, at least in part, caused by drier conditions, but the issue can actually contribute to climate change as well. When fires rage, they release massive amounts of pollution, including carbon dioxide, black carbon, brown carbon, and the precursors of ozone in the atmosphere. When these air pollutant emissions are released, they have an impact on radiation, clouds, and both regional and global climates.

They also emit substances that significantly reduce the air quality in the surrounding community, as well as communities miles away. Fires release volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which negatively impact the quality of the air we breathe.

They also release nitrogen oxides, which form ozone and particulate matter. Direct emissions of toxins are also a concern, as they can impact first responders and local residents who are unfortunate enough to live nearby.

Anyone who has significant issues with asthma, allergies, or a respiratory disease will be troubled by the smoke. According to the CDC, people most at risk from wildfire smoke are individuals with heart or lung diseases, as well as the elderly and young children. For heart or lung diseases, there is a wide range of potential conditions and illnesses that could make a person more vulnerable.

There are things you can do to keep yourself protected. One of the most beneficial steps is to constantly check the local air quality reports. If you live in an affected area, keep a tab on conditions, especially during seasons that are high-risk times. You can check the Air Quality Index from the EPA for advanced information on air quality.

MapMyAir is another tool you can utilize to track both pollen and air quality in your area. 

There are also local visibility guides that help you stay informed about public health in relation to pollution. To maintain better health, keep a clean, tidy home that is free of dust and smoke, especially if you are advised to stay indoors. Keep all of your windows closed so you are not letting smoke into your home, and run the air conditioner to stay cool instead of opening windows for a cool breeze.

In most cases, outdoor air is cleaner than indoor, but during wildfires you want to lock out smoke until the problem has passed. You should also avoid any activity that increases your exposure to air pollution when you have the house sealed. This means no candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves, which increase indoor air pollution. While vacuuming is generally good for indoor air quality because it removes dust and other particles, you’ll want to avoid vacuuming until the wildfire problem has passed. This is because vacuuming can stir up particulate matter inside your home.

Many people want to protect themselves from wildfires by wearing dust masks, but these items provide very little protection for your lungs and respiratory system, so the CDC does not recommend relying on them when smoke is in the air. This is because the masks are intended to stop large particles, such as saw dust from a workshop or job site. The masks are effective for larger particles, but they cannot trap many of the finer particulate matter that make up smoke.

As you can see, wildfires have become a significant problem, and many believe the issue is directly tied to climate change. Not only does climate create wildfire issues, it’s believed that wildfires further contribute to the issue, creating a vicious cycle. However, with the right strategy to protect your family and home, you can avoid the harmful effects of wildfire smoke caused by climate change.


3. Airborne Dust

Dust is another issue that is impacting our climate, and it is more common during heat waves. It’s theorized that climate-related issues have increased the frequency and severity of droughts and dusts storms, which have increased the prevalence of dust both inside and outside the home.

In the 1930’s, portions of the southern Great Plains experienced significant drought, creating what became known as the dust bowl. Compounded by over-farming of the land, the drought created massive landscapes of dust, forcing millions of people to leave the area.

Now, we appear to be having a similar problem, but one that, while not as severe in local areas, is creating drought and dust in many regions of the country. A study on the impact of climate change and the growth of drought found that if gas emissions are not significantly reduced, the planet could see a rise in premature deaths caused by fine dust by 130%, with increases in hospitalizations increasing by 59%.

If trends in the climate continue, it appears that the southwestern United States could be one of the most severely-impacted regions of the country. This area, which is already hot and dry, could experience droughts that don’t just last a few seasons, but could last for decades.
If this occurs, exposure to airborne particles will increase, creating significant public health concerns. Risks associated with dust can cover both long and short-term issues, such as coughing and wheezing, or eye irritation. It’s not uncommon for someone with asthma or a respiratory disease to experience aggravation from the problem, suffering from more asthma attacks if there is dust in the air. Likewise, if someone has allergies to any airborne substance, dust can make the problems worse.


Get a High-Quality Green Air Purifier from a World-Class Company

At Oransi, we are dedicated to creating the best possible air for your home or office. We use the best parts and materials, as well as advanced engineering, to create appliances that remove a high percentage of particles from the air.

Contact our team today to learn how air purifiers can help you improve air quality.