Poor air quality can cost two years of your life, according to Utah doctor

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) — During the summer, the Ozone is the primary pollutant of concern. The recent batch of fires across Utah, California and Oregon coupled with the heat is only making Utah’s poor air quality worse.

“Air pollution is a concern that goes way beyond breathing and lung disease,” said Doctor Brian Moench, an anesthesiologist and president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. “It affects the heart, it affects virtually the entire vascular system, so that affects all the critical organs.”

Dr. Moench says a normal lung from a healthy resident should have a red tint; however, people living in the Wasatch Front will probably have a dark gray liver with black and white spots.

The lung on the right depicts the effect of air pollution on the lung of a Sydney city resident, who probably breathed in better air quality than those living in the Wasatch Front, according to Dr. Moench.

Dr. Moench says bad air affects every critical organ in the body, including the brain.

“The typical smoker’s lungs will look a little worse than that,” said Dr. Moench.

Among other health concerns, bad air quality can:

  • cause cancer
  • cause infertility
  • harm your heart
  • harm your lungs
  • weaken your bones
  • harm your kidneys
  • age your skin

“The list of diseases associated with human diseases is long as the list of diseases associated with smoking cigarettes, so it’s a serious health hazard,” said Dr. Moench.

Dr. Moench says some solutions include:

  • decrease fuel exhaustion
  • avoid wood combustion
  • conserve electricity
  • buy an air purifier for your bedroom

“Put it in your bedroom where most people spend maybe a third of their life and really clean up the air that they breathe during sleep,” said Dr. Moench.

Dr. Moench hopes to increase awareness and see changes to public policy to ultimately improve Utah’s quality of life through better air quality.

To learn more about how bad air quality affects the human body, click here.

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