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What can I do to avoid air pollution?

Air pollution builds up in towns and cities where it can become trapped between buildings, or in the local area more generally, especially in still weather. Levels of air pollution are generally higher during rush hours and close to busy roads. In more rural locations, levels of ozone peak during the afternoon particularly in hot weather.

If you are sensitive to the effects of air pollution, it may be appropriate to limit the length of time spent in locations where peak air pollution concentrations occur. For instance, walking along back roads rather than beside busy roads will reduce your exposure to traffic pollution.

The faster you breathe the more airborne pollutants are delivered to your lungs. By changing your exercise routine you can reduce your exposure. For example, in summer, try running in the morning when ozone concentrations are lower.

Pollutants can deplete antioxidants so it is plausible that a good diet containing antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C could help protect against some of the effects of pollution. This is not proven but a study conducted in Mexico City has shown that children eating more antioxidants (from fresh fruit and vegetables) are better protected against the oxidative effects of ozone and other ambient pollutants.


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