How can I protect myself from hazardous substances in the air?

Even if you've never smoked but live in a big city, you're at high risk for deadly lung diseases, including cancer. Here's how to reduce your risk and protect yourself from hazardous substances.


What are we breathing and how can we protect ourselves?


Halogen-substituted acetic acids (HCAs)

Hazard level 1 (on a scale of 5)

They are a byproduct of swimming pool disinfection. The mechanism is this: after the street on the skin is full of all sorts of crap from polluted air, and part of it as a result of the reaction with chlorine or bromine (which purify the water) turns into these very acids. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HCAs increase the risk of developing cancer cells. The good news is that these HCPs don't stay on our bodies for more than a couple of hours.


Protect yourself: Shower thoroughly after swimming and avoid swallowing water while swimming.



Hazard level: 3

A stuffy nose, scratchy swollen eyes, a tickly throat - according to various data, from 13 to 35% of Russians after winter meet not only spring, but also allergies.


How to protect yourself: The highest concentration of pollen in the air happens between 5 and 10 a.m., so it's best not to go outside at this time unnecessarily (a nice exception is rainy weather). By requesting "pollen monitoring" online (for example, at you can find current data on the distribution of allergens and recommendations of allergologists. Doctors also recommend taking long-acting antihistamines - ask at your nearest pharmacy.



Hazard level: 3

Mold season kicks off in mid-summer, when it begins to actively breed on the first fallen and rotting leaves and on decrepit and fallen trees. You've been working at the cottage with a rake, and immediately you feel a stuffy nose, stinging eyes, and a cough muffled by the neighbor's dog? You may be allergic to mold.


How to protect yourself: Pockets of mold hazards will persist through the fall, so take care - especially when the weather is wet and windy. If you're going to mow or pick up trash with a rake, wear a medical mask or a cowboy-style bandana over your nose.



Hazard Level: 5.

This is deadly stuff, a byproduct of air pollution that irritates the respiratory organs and contributes to decreased lung capacity. Hot, sunny days in cities are usually oversaturated with ozone and should be feared.


How to protect yourself: If the news is reporting that ozone levels in the air are seriously above the legal limit, it's best to cancel an outdoor workout and a soccer game with friends. Or at least wait until sunset - ozone levels are lower in the evening.


Smoke from a charcoal grill

Hazard level: 3

Charcoal, kindling mixes, food and fire fill the air with particulate matter that settles in the lungs and can cause allergies or a bronchial asthma attack. For the environment, burning 5 kilograms of charcoal is like driving a big, powerful jeep for half a kilometer.


How to protect yourself: Leave less fat on the meat so that it does not burn, and do not stand on the leeward side of the charcoal grill - let the smoke drift away.


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