ageist EDITORS | December 14, 2017


alzheimers and air pollution

There is a growing body of science linking Alzheimers to the inhalation of very small particles in the air, the sub-M2.5 variety that are in dense concentrations near places like freeways. “Those living within 50 meters of a major road — where levels of fine pollutants are often 10 times higher than just 150 meters away— were 12% more likely to develop dementia than people living more than 200 meters away.”

We live in Los Angeles, one of the cities in America with the worst air quality, where last week’s fires made it seem more like Beijing. Those were large particles—also bad, but obvious. These are the less noticeable ones, but there is some relation between the two. What to do? I have an air quality app called BreezoMeter which will give me street-by-street air quality. There are some surprises: leafy Pasadena and the Angeles National Forest have worse air than I do in downtown. And the beach communities which smell great are often not so great for air quality.

We spend most of our days indoors working. We keep the windows closed during the day when the particulate pollution is highest, and open them in the evening or early morning. It’s good to let your home breathe out the off-gassing of all your stuff. The other thing we do is keep two HEPA air filters running, one in the bedroom, one in the main space, all day every day. Above is what a filter looks like on replacement day. Scary monsters.