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Healthy Environment


Printable Fact Sheet (PDF)

Health Effects

Poor air quality can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat or coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties. It can make existing lung and heart problems worse, and increase the risk of heart attack in people with heart conditions. It is important that although children and seniors may be more vulnerable to the poor air quality, everyone can experience ill effects.

If you are a senior or you suffer from heart disease or lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis, smog can make your symptoms worse.

  • Smog can decrease the lung's working capacity causing breathing to be more difficult. You may find your daily activities harder to do, and you may be more tired.
  • Smog reduces the respiratory system's ability to fight infections and remove foreign particles, increasing your risk of getting sick.
  • Smog can make the symptoms of allergies and asthma worse.

Things You Can Do

There are many things you can do to help reduce air pollution. Reducing energy use every day helps improve air quality:

  • Take public transit.
  • Avoid idling your car.
  • Bicycle or carpool.
  • Keep your car in top condition: a car that is not properly maintained is less fuel efficient and emits more pollutants.
  • Use alternate and/or natural forms of cleaners that do not contain volatile organic compounds. For example, instead of ammonia based cleaners use vinegar and salt mix or baking soda/water mix; instead of glass/window cleaner use vinegar and water mix and wipe with a newspaper.
  • When renovating, think green. For example, energy efficient windows, solar hot-water systems and better weather stripping and caulking can help save energy, money and the environment.
  • Plant trees. Trees are one of our least expensive and most effective and efficient resources for lowering temperature.
  • Switch to fluorescent or energy-saving incandescent light bulbs.

For more information, take a look at the Healthy Canadians webpage - Smog and Your Health or to speak with a public health professional, call Health Connection Monday to Friday 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520).

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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