Polluted air has both direct and indirect toxic effects on the body. It haunts the air you breathe, but also causes acid rain and smog, and pokes holes in the ozone layer, leaving you more vulnerable to skin cancer. The EPA lists 189 hazardous air pollutants including formaldehyde and benzene. These toxins cause cancer and contribute to respiratory disease, birth defects, and other serious health problems.

To further complicate matters, some people have severe allergies that make throwing open a window—and inviting in the pollen—sound like a bad idea. In Chapter 14 of Fantastic Voyage, Ray & Terry make a number of suggestions for protecting your health from the onslaught of environmental pollutants (for excerpts, please see Short Guide to a Long Life). To help protect yourself from air pollution and prevent future buildup of airborne toxins:

  • Don’t smoke and avoid places where people do smoke.
  • Try to live in a less polluted part of the country or in a less polluted part of the city.
  • Use air filtration systems in your house and place of work.

Air purifiers trap airborne irritants, bacteria, allergens, dust particles and other contaminants. Used in conjunction with other allergen removal steps suggested by medical specialists (e.g., limiting carpeting in the home and using mite-proof bedding), the reduction in airborne particles helps to create a low-allergen environment.

We do not currently have a recommendation for an air purifier. To find the right air purifier for your needs, start at Home Air Quality Guides. They offer information and reviews on a wide variety of air purifiers.