How Does Air Pollution Affect The Elderly

Air pollution can have a toll on everyone in your family, from a newborn child to the elderly. Its impact can be severe on some, while others are barely bothered by it, so what factors contribute to how pollution will affect you? One vital factor is age; the older we grow, the more vulnerable we become, and even the slightest pollution can significantly impact us. This article will discuss how things unfold when the elderly are exposed to air pollution.

What Is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is the introduction of particles and other hazardous substances into the air, which may result from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. Hence, we often link the pollution to billowing smokestacks, but this is far from the truth. Pollution is found both indoors and outdoors, and indoor air pollution can be equally devastating. Hence, what we discuss here might apply to indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Main Culprits:
While we could just jot down the list of possible pollutants, some can be more irritating than others. Here is a list of a few notorious ones.

NO2: NO2 is a common nitrogen oxide found in car exhaust. Hence, it’s bound to make an appearance in major pollutants you can find in the city.

Ozone: Another product of your car exhaust and some air cleaning products, so they can be both found indoors and outdoors.

CO: It results from incomplete combustion, so you can expect to find it everywhere there is some sort of combustion – from stoves to cars.

Why Are The Elderly More Vulnerable?

The fact that pollution can be more damaging to the old may not shock you. Aging is a natural process, and a weakened immune system is an undesirable side effect of aging. Consequently, the body wouldn’t be able to fend off inflammation and other damage from breathing polluted air. In addition to a weakening immune system, many elderly may be struggling with diseases such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Such underlying conditions have already made organs pay a heavy price. Hence, when these weakened organs face pollution, they succumb without much resistance, leading to premature deaths in adults.

What Have Research Discovered About The Impact Of Air Pollution On The Elderly?

Air pollution more often leads to breathing-related issues in the elderly, from cough to pneumonia. Research has found that the elderly are sensitive to the slightest increase in the surrounding air pollution. So what happens after exposure to increased pollution levels? The first few days will be fine because symptoms take some time to kick in. However, once in the arena, they can last for a few days.

Research suggests that as the pollution level increased, so did the hospital admissions, and most were related to coughing, pneumonia, and asthma. Interestingly these increased hospital admissions were primarily due to a slight increase in the air pollutants of about 50ug/m^3.


Research shows us that pollution can have a tremendous toll on our elders. While we cannot control the outdoor air quality, we can still regulate IAQ (indoor air quality). For that, you will need good air filters. Luckily, the Clean Liquid System has a massive catalog you can shop from. Hence, for more inquiries, you can call us at 713-253-0100.

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