Pollution can kill you

Death is in the air — but not for you!

One day soon, I hope that they treat daily pollution levels like the weather and give you a forecast each day before you step outside.

It’s not just good information to have.

New research shows how knowing what’s out there — and how to avoid it — just might save your life!

Even small day-to-day changes in pollution levels can add up to big risks, especially for older folks — and not just over years of exposure.

Just a single day of exposure to common pollutants can KILL you, according to the new study.

This isn’t the risk in a smoggy nightmare of a city in some distant country. The study didn’t focus on places like Shanghai or Mumbai.

It looked at what happens when levels of two common pollutants rise right here in the United States.

Specifically, the study focused on ozone, which is a hazy smog formed by pollution reacting with sunlight, and the particulate matter 2.5 made of soot, smoke, dust, and dirt.

When either one rose on any given day, the death rate in that specific zip code jumped — and not just on “really bad” days.

Even small increases — levels that didn’t exceed the EPA’s safe limits — caused people to die.

Every small jump in PM 2.5 increased the death rate by an extra 1.42 per million people, and every rise in ozone levels increased those deaths by 0.66 per million people.

Those might not sound like big numbers, but those figures aren’t per year.

They’re per DAY… and they can add up fast.

In real numbers, the research team believes that pollution is responsible for 800 deaths across the country just in summer, when it’s often at its worst.

There are two quick steps you can take to protect yourself, reduce exposure, and minimize the risk.

First, look online for a decent source of air quality monitoring system so you know what you’re facing on any given day and can prepare accordingly.

If the levels rise, avoid going out during peak pollution hours, which tend to follow rush hour traffic patterns. When they’re especially high — or when you have an extra factor such as the fires we’ve been experiencing here in California — there may be times when it’s better to stay inside all day if you can.

And second, while your home provides decent protection, it may not be enough.

If you live in or near a city or industrial area, invest in a quality air purifier with a HEPA filter, and don’t forget to clean or change it regularly.