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What cities have superior air quality?

August 2023

Environment impacts air quality and that impacts sufferers of Asthma, COPD, Pulmonary fibrosis/Interstitial Lung Disease, among other lung ailments. These urban locations are noted for their better than average air quality. Note: see this listing of what some of the primary irritants in the air and what they mean for Asthma suferers.

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: Thanks to its isolated location in the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu often boasts some of the best air quality in the United States. [See Map Honolulu, Hawaii]

  2. Zurich, Switzerland: Zurich often has excellent air quality thanks to Switzerland's stringent environmental regulations and the city's commitment to clean energy and transportation. [See Map Zurich, Switzerland]

  3. Adelaide, Australia: Australia, as a whole, often ranks high for air quality, and Adelaide, in particular, is often highlighted for its clean air. [See Map Adelaide, Australia]

  4. Calgary, Canada: Located near the Rocky Mountains, Calgary often enjoys good air quality due to its geographical position and Canada's overall high environmental standards. [See Map Calgary, Canada]

  5. Helsinki, Finland: Finland has some of the cleanest air in the world according to WHO reports, and Helsinki, its capital, benefits from this. [See Map Helsinki, Finland]

  6. Wellington, New Zealand: As an island nation with lots of wind and relatively low pollution, New Zealand's cities often have good air quality. [See Map Wellington, New Zealand]

  7. Reykjavik, Iceland: Iceland's reliance on geothermal energy and the lack of heavy industry helps keep Reykjavik's air clean. [See Map Reykjavik, Iceland]

  8. Stockholm, Sweden: This city is known for its commitment to green spaces, cycling infrastructure, and environmental sustainability, which helps to maintain good air quality. [See Map Stockholm, Sweden]

  9. Vancouver, Canada: Like Calgary, Vancouver often benefits from Canada's overall good air quality, though it can occasionally be impacted by wildfires in the region. [See Map Vancouver, Canada]

  10. Auckland, New Zealand: Like Wellington, Auckland often enjoys good air quality thanks to New Zealand's overall environmental conditions. [See Map Auckland, New Zealand]

Asthma Sufferers Air Irritant list

What is the most problematic?

"Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus." – Mayo Clinic

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that can be made worse by environmental triggers. When considering air quality and its effects on an asthma sufferer, several factors are important, though the significance of each will vary according to the individual.

Here's a breakdown of some critical air quality issues for people with asthma:

Particulate Matter (PM): This is perhaps one of the most crucial features. PM consists of tiny particles suspended in the air. There are different sizes of PM, including PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less) and PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less). Especially PM2.5 can penetrate deep into the lungs and exacerbate asthma symptoms. Sources include vehicle emissions, industrial processes, wood burning, and more.

Ozone (O₃): Ground-level ozone is a primary component of smog and is formed when nitrogen oxides (from cars, power plants, and other sources) react with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Breathing in ozone can trigger asthma symptoms.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂): This gas results from the burning of fossil fuels, especially in vehicles and power plants. High concentrations can irritate the airways and exacerbate respiratory diseases, including asthma.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO₂): This gas is produced from burning fossil fuels, like coal and oil, and from certain industrial processes. It can irritate the airways and cause bronchoconstriction in asthmatics.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): These are a group of chemicals that can evaporate into the air from products and processes. Some VOCs, like formaldehyde, can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms.

Allergens: Pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and dust mites can all be suspended in the air and can be potent triggers for some people with asthma.

Humidity: High humidity can make the air feel warmer and can promote the growth of mold and dust mites, both of which can be asthma triggers.

Temperature: Cold air can trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals. Similarly, extreme heat, especially when combined with pollutants, can lead to poor air quality that may exacerbate asthma.

Carbon Dioxide (CO₂): While not a direct irritant like other pollutants, increased levels of CO₂ can indicate poor ventilation, which can mean higher concentrations of indoor pollutants and irritants.

Other Pollutants: There are other various chemicals and pollutants, including smoke from tobacco or wildfires, which can significantly impact asthma sufferers.

Asthma have a crucial need to be aware of air quality, especially during days when pollution levels are high. Monitoring local air quality indices, staying indoors during high pollution periods, and using air purifiers can help reduce exposure.

A proper management plan for overcoming these issues is something an Asthma sufferer and a healthcare provider can map out together using the latest information and taking advantage of the latest technologies.

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Original Page August 18, 2023

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