Air Pollution Outside Means Poor Air Quality Indoors

When air pollution becomes worse than normal, city officials recommend staying indoors as much as possible. Makes perfect sense, right?

But the truth is, outdoor air pollution seeps into homes, schools, and businesses. Add that pollution to poor air quality already existing inside buildings... And now merely breathing can negatively affect your health. Apparently what you can’t see can hurt you.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims air pollution caused by tiny particles called PM2.5 may be as harmful to your lungs as smoking cigarettes. When we inhale, these particles lodge in our lungs’ small blood vessels. 

Today I want to tell you which U.S. cities and states have the poorest air quality. Maybe you live in or near one of them. I’ll also let you know the best way to ensure you’re breathing the best air possible. Regardless of where you live. 

10 Worst Cities & States

Here’s a list of the 10 worst U.S. areas for air quality. This is according to the American Lung Association. They also tell us 40% of Americans live in states with unhealthy air pollution levels. Let the countdown begin: 

10 – San Diego/Carlsbad, California

9 – Hanford/Corcoran, California

8 – Payson, Arizona

7 – Fresno, California

6 – Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim, California

5 – Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Arizona

4 – Visalia/Porterville, California

3 – Bakersfield, California

2 – Hilo, Hawaii

1 – Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, California

Other cities ranking in the “worst 30” include Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Plus Philadelphia, El Paso, St. Louis, and Detroit. As well as Albuquerque, San Francisco, and New York. 

The 10 most polluted states in America, according to, are:

10 – Wyoming

9 – Iowa

8 – Oklahoma

7 – Colorado

6 – Illinois

5 – Nevada

4 – Utah

3 – District of Columbia

2 – Arizona

1 – California

500 Different Pollutants?

A recent report from the Lung Institute declared that indoor air is “much more polluted” than outdoor air. Now, if we spent 90% of our time outdoors, that might not be a big problem. But the fact is, Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors.

And that’s on average. During winter months, the percentage rises. It doesn’t help that we keep our windows and doors closed more during the winter.

Indoor air contaminants have been linked to serious health ailments. The World Health Organization estimates that in one recent year, 4.3 million people lost their lives due to indoor air pollution. 

According to a study from Environmental Health Sciences, your home’s air could have 500 different pollutants in it. 

Minor Irritations to Major Problems

Maybe your city or state was not mentioned above. But there’s still a good chance you’re breathing in harmful contaminants in your home’s air.

Among things that cause poor indoor air quality are mold and pollen. As well as household products and pesticides. Plus gases including radon and carbon monoxide. And materials such as asbestos, lead, and formaldehyde. 

The effects on our health can sometimes be minor, although annoying. Such as fatigue and dizziness. Or headaches and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.

But prolonged exposure to airborne contaminants can be much more serious. And the resulting respiratory issues can last a long time. 

9 Ways to Combat Indoor Air Pollution 

Fortunately, there are some things we can do to improve air quality in our homes. Here are 9 of them:

  • Dehumidify. Fix water leaks before mold can grow and use your exhaust fan when cooking. The EPA recommends a range of 30 to 60% humidity in the house. 
  • Choose the right candles. Traditional candles can release pollutants. Try beeswax candles instead to help reduce toxins.
  • Stock up on house plants. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. NASA recommends the Peace Lily. Ferns, spider plants, and aloe vera are also effective. 
  • Change your air filters regularly. You don’t need to buy expensive filters. Experts recommend less expensive filters because they allow for better airflow.  
  • Keep it clean. Dust, vacuum, and mop regularly. Use white vinegar on hard floors and steaming carpets.  
  • Smoke outside. Smoking is deadly and secondhand smoke is just as bad. Tell smokers to take it outside.
  • Avoid using aerosols. Many of them contain phthalates, which can negatively affect hormones. Artificial sprays, plug-ins, and fragrances are filled with chemicals you don’t want to inhale.
  • Open windows. If the air quality in your state is good, let some outside air in. Use ceiling fans to circulate air as well.   

The Best Solution 

Those first eight tips are good. But the ninth one is great. The one solution standing head and shoulders above others is using an in-home air filtration system. 

Among the many advantages of an in-home air filtration system are a reduced risk of airborne illnesses. Plus allergy relief, better sleep quality, and a better smelling home. 

No matter what the air is like outdoors, you’ll be able to breathe easier indoors with an in-home air filtration system.

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