How much pollution do you breathe in every day? What happens when you breathe in.

Updated: Mar 18

We breathe in and out roughly 22,000 times a day. It’s an automatic action, something that we never have to think about… But perhaps we should. Although we all know that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, do you really know what happens when you breathe in? This blog will take you through the process, highlighting exactly why knowing what we breathe is so important.

How much pollution is there in the world?

The World Health Organisation has set a target for cities to achieve an average of 10 micrograms of PM 2.5 per cubic metre. Some cities like San Francisco, where electric vehicles are hugely popular, have managed to reach this limit while others like Beijing are way over the prescribed limit, by more than 7x in 2016, with inhabitants of the Chinese city inhaling up to 220,000,000 particles of PM 2.5 per day or 2,500 a second. London tends to hover somewhere between 10 and 20 micrograms per cubic metre, which roughly works out to 44,000,000 particles per day or 509 particles per second. A lot better than Beijing but PM 2.5 are not the sort of particles that we want in our body.

How big is a microgram? It’s very, very small. So small in fact that although you are inhaling roughly 124.4 micrograms of PM 2.5 per day, it would take around 100 days for the amount of PM 2.5 you’ve inhaled to equal the size of a grain of rice. Obviously if you lived in a more polluted city than London, those grains of rice would add up faster. Breathing air into the lungs in Beijing would earn you a whole grain in just three weeks! So is this something to worry about? Yes. Although a grain of rice is small, the effect on the body is cumulative. In a year of living in the UK’s capital city, you’ll have just over 3.5 ‘rice grains’ of pollution in your body. In ten years, that’s 35 grains. Again, it doesn’t seem a lot when taken at face value but these particles can stay in your body for life and include toxic contaminants like arsenic and carbon.

What happens when you breathe in and where does the pollution go?

Everything within that breath enters your body, where air passes through up to fifteen hundred miles of space in your respiratory system, ultimately entering one of the five hundred million air sacs called alveoli in your lungs. These minute, clustered air sacs then allow the oxygen to permeate into the red blood cells in your bloodstream, creating oxygenated blood which is then carried around the body. And what of the pollution that you have inhaled? PM 2.5 is so small that it can rest deep within your lungs for an indefinite period of time but more worryingly, it can also seep into your bloodstream, where it can be carried around the body in perpetuity. Health effects and health problems vary but as time goes on, coughing, wheezing, asthma, bronchitis, high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer, strokes and premature death can all be associated with what you have been breathing in throughout your life.

The Pure Air Zone solution

A born and bred Londoner who has lived in the capital for all of their life will have breathed the equivalent of over 200 grain-sized capsules of pollution into their body by the time they turn sixty. In truth, the amount is probably more because very few were paying attention to air quality in the 1960s, and the person may very well have worked in polluted factories as well. Thankfully a Pure Air Zone can prevent this problem from recurring in sixty years’ time.

A Pure Air Zone ensures that your environment contains pure air, with the air purifying bioreactor using molecular charge attraction to attract contaminants in the surrounding area before neutralising them using U-Ox. With each air purifier having the 'depollution' power of 276 oak trees, it is an extremely effective way of making sure that your body stays healthy for longer as the pollution that you would have inhaled heads for the bioreactor rather than your lungs.

Do you want to make sure that you breathe as much pure air as possible? Find out more about the Pure Air Zone solution here.