Something in the air

How can you protect yourself from air pollution?

Every day, you inhale thousands of gallons of air — mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and a smattering of other gases. But that air also may contain tiny particles spewed from power plants, factories, and vehicles — commonly known as air pollution.

"Air pollution" refers to particulate matter (PM), the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to see, while others are microscopic in size. Most studies on air pollution focus on PM2.5, which are inhalable particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »