Free air quality checks for Mat-Su seniors

The American Lung Association Mat-Su Office is recruiting participants for a pilot project aimed at improving lung health through simple changes. The Healthy Homes Mat-Su Program focuses on seniors with chronic lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Our trained staff will conduct an in-person assessment of the air quality inside your home to identify health hazards such as mold and mildew, dust mites and ventilation issues. Based on our findings, we recommend simple, low-cost solutions to improving the air quality in your home. We also provide cost-effective tools such as walk-off mats and green cleaning kits to get you started

According to the World Health Organization, in 2012, outdoor air pollution caused approximately 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide. To address this health concern, the Environmental Protection Agency lowered the 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard limit from 65 micrograms of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) per cubic meter of air to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Commonly known as PM 2.5, these microscopic particles emanate from wildfires, wood-burning devices, coal fired power plants and diesel engines. They lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, cause lung cancer and shorten lives.

PM 2.5 particles are 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. These particles are not to be confused with PM 10, found in glacial silt and dust.

The American Lung Association’s 18th annual State of the Air report, released on April 19, 2017, found that the Mat-Su Borough ranked 14th worst in the nation for 24-hour particle pollution, recording its worst ever short-term particle episode between 2013-2015. PM 2.5 is a serious health risk, placing the most vulnerable at risk for asthma, COPD, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The air outside directly affects the air we breathe indoors. Research shows that on average, we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors with air five times more polluted than outdoor air. Health effects associated with pollutants in the home often go unaddressed due to a lack of awareness. The Healthy Homes Mat-Su Program aims to improve the quality of life for Mat-Su seniors with chronic lung disease, helping them to live independently in their own homes longer by improving their indoor air quality.

To learn more about this new program or to schedule your free in-home assessment, please call 907-891-7443. 

Ashley Peltier is the Mat Su Manager, American Lung Association In Alaska.