You can't believe everything you hear...
Nowadays, when it comes to air pollution, you don't know what to think. Here you hear that you have to lock yourself up at home, and there you hear that you have to go live on Mars because you're lost anyway. But as soon as a pollution spike appears, you hear about the apocalypse and when it's over, nothing... as if the pollution had magically disappeared. But unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
So let's start by setting the record straight on the few misconceptions you regularly hear.
1 - When the air is polluted we stay at home
Well no, don't!
First of all, indoor air is also very polluted. The sources of pollution are not the same as outdoor pollution, but the result is just as harmful. So recommendation number 1: Air your home! And then you have to stay moderate. The state has set up different thresholds to define the state of the situation in case of pollution peaks:
Information and recommendation threshold :
Basically, we are told that the level of pollution is a little higher than normal, we are advised to remain vigilant about our health (appearance of symptoms) and, for vulnerable people, it is recommended to reduce or avoid intense physical and sports activities outdoors or indoors.
The alert state has three thresholds: If a certain amount of pollutants in the air per cubic meter is exceeded for more than one hour to three hours.
N.B: If we exceed the third threshold, it's time to move to March!
The best recommendations we can give you in case of pollution peaks is to limit intense efforts to avoid ventilating more than necessary and to protect your lungs with a WATERPROOF anti-pollution mask (we can never insist enough!) In other words, if you avoid training for the Paris Marathon on that day, everything should go well. And if you travel by bike you can also avoid traffic jams by slightly changing your route for a less polluted one. No reason to stay at home when there are pollution peaks. You go out, take your bike and get some fresh air!
In short, it's not tomorrow the day before that you'll be able to use the excuse "Gee, it's too polluted I can't come to work" to sit on your couch all day long... 😉
2 - It is on my bike that I am most exposed to pollution.
Cyclists and pedestrians are not the ones most exposed to pollution... but motorists. They are constantly in the traffic flow and traffic jams, in an enclosed space. Cyclists and pedestrians have the possibility to partially move away from the traffic flow if they can. It is also strongly recommended to open the windows when you are stopped in traffic jams to ventilate the passenger compartment and not to stay cloistered with all those damn particles around you. (Cf misconception n°1).
3 - You can smell the pollution!
So yes, you're going to tell me that when you're behind the exhaust pipe of a bus, it's pollution that you smell. Unfortunately, it's true that it is... But on the other hand, it's not because the air doesn't smell like a big diesel engine that it's not polluted! Nuance... And that's the mistake that too many people make today (including the media): putting aside the importance of good air quality and only talking about it during peak pollution periods. It's therefore important to regularly inform yourself about the level of pollution in order to act accordingly.
By the way... At WAIR we have developed an air quality information application, which allows you to know in real time the pollution index of the place where you are. A good solution to realize that the air is polluted much more often than you think and that it is finally very useful to protect yourself from it!
Take the opportunity to downloadSUPAIRMAN by WAIR for free on IOS and android.
4 - It's less polluted in the countryside
Ah la la ... I can see you all already perplexed by this statement that will destroy your future impressions of a great breath of fresh air in the country during the weekend...
But it is a fact: the air we breathe in the countryside can sometimes contain many pollutants emitted during agricultural practices (for example, the spreading of pesticides and fertilizers). We cannot therefore consider the air in the countryside "cleaner" than that in the city. The pollution emitted therefore comes from different sources, but, once again, the consequences and precautions to be taken are the same as with urban pollution.
5 - Anti-pollution masks are ineffective against pollution
Let us set the record straight: many masks on the market today are ineffective against pollution, for the simple reason that they are not waterproof and not necessarily certified.
Let me explain: a good anti-pollution mask must contain a structure that will stick to your face to create a seal. In other words: you can have the most powerful filter in the world in your mask, if it is not well sealed the air will eventually pass through the leaks in the face and filter nothing. Wrong! Some masks today are able to filter micro-particles, the most harmful to health. But we must check that they are certified to current standards and that it is not just a question of marketing.
We can't stress enough the importance of protecting ourselves outside of pollution peaks. When it rains, you take an umbrella, don't you? Well, it's the same in case of pollution, we must adopt the reflex of protection! There is still a (very) long way to go to change mentalities and behaviours. But if everyone already apprehends the air quality in a fairer way and without saying anything ... we should be able to find ourselves on the right track.
Find our anti-pollution masks, specially designed for urban people, and breathe better! Find out more about air pollution on the Fournisseur-Energie website.
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