Outdoor air pollution and health: Minimizing the effects
On this page
- How to lower your risk of health effects of outdoor air pollution
- What we’re doing to reduce air pollution
How to lower your risk of health effects of outdoor air pollution
Follow these tips to reduce your risk of health effects from air pollution.
- Reduce outdoor air pollution coming in to your home.
- Avoid or reduce exercising near areas of heavy traffic, especially during rush hour.
- Exercise in parks and green spaces, when possible.
- When air pollution levels are high:
- avoid or reduce strenuous outdoor activities
- limit time spent outdoors, especially if you are at risk
- Talk to your health care provider about other ways to protect your health when air pollution levels are high. This is especially important for people with pre-existing heart or lung conditions.
- Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) index in your community, especially during "smog season" from April to September. The AQHI measures the air quality in relation to your health on a scale from 1 to 10. If it isn’t available in your area, check your provincial environment ministry website for local air quality information. Choose your activities accordingly.
What we’re doing to reduce outdoor air pollution
Our research on the health effects of smog played a role in developing national air quality standards for particulate matter and ground-level ozone. These standards are an important step in reducing the effects of smog on our health.
We will continue to study the effects of short and long-term exposure to smog-producing pollutants. These studies will lead to more standards and guidelines to help protect you from the health effects of smog.
We’ve introduced regulations to decrease air pollution from vehicles. These regulations have resulted in reduced emissions due to:
- improved engine performance
- emission control technologies
- cleaner fuels, including fuels with low sulphur content
Although technology improvements have reduced vehicle emissions, there’s still cause for concern because:
- older trucks and cars remain in use
- these vehicles emit more pollutants and greenhouse gases
- vehicle numbers are high in densely populated urban areas
- the total kilometres travelled by Canadian vehicles continues to increase
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