The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Could Alternative Energy Affect Lung Disease Rates?
In countries like India and China, where air pollution has climbed to unimaginable numbers, people have adapted the use of air filtering masks to stop harmful pollutant from entering their lungs. These pollutants are being produced from coal-burning power plants, carbon emissions from automobiles, along with agricultural pollutants that fill the air. These conditions are not solely a problem in Asia; in the United States, many cities have been given an “F” grade by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in regards to their air quality. This toxic trend has led many to not just look to alternative energy as a solution for the harm caused to the planet, but some are even looking at how solar power is helping lung disease sufferers.
Solar Power Impact
Alternative energy sounds like just another buzzword to most people. It stands for a serious shift in the lives of every person that consumes energy, which is just about everyone. The latest report from Live Science states that if all of the energy produced by conventional fossil fuel-burning power plants was converted to solar power, air pollution would drop roughly 90 percent. This would represent exciting news to anybody suffering from lung disease. The pollutants in the air represent tiny toxic molecules that enter the lungs and cause gas exchange to become more difficult. Some people even develop lung disease through breathing polluted air for years at their place of employment. Occupational COPD accounted for roughly 30,000 cases of lung disease in 2008 alone. This includes the dreaded black lung disease that is common in the coal mining industry in areas of Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Best and Worst Places to Live with COPD
When we compiled a list of the best and worst places to live with COPD, we considered air pollution as the primary driving factor. This is due to the way the body of someone suffering from lung disease reacts to air pollutions. The cities with the cleanest air not only see a smaller portion of the population suffering from lung disease, but the progression of the disease in sufferers may be slower. Conversely, cities with very poor air quality, like Pittsburgh, see the progression of these diseases much quicker. With the nature of these chronic lung diseases being so severe, and the prognosis and life expectancy with COPD being so poor, the idea that your local power plant may be switching from fossil fuel to solar power could have a major effect on your life with COPD.
We are pretty far from the day that solar power will overtake fossil fuels as the primary source of power in the United States, but until that day, we need to take our health into our own hands. The Lung Institute helps people with lung disease treat their debilitating condition with cells from their own body. If you or a loved one is suffering from a lung disease, contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify.