The American Lung Association encourages everyone to get involved in championing cleaner, healthier air.
To ensure clean air for all, leaders at every level of government must set strong measures to reduce air pollution. We need you to call on them for action. Learn more and take action with our Healthy Air Campaign.
We can all take steps in our own lives to reduce our contributions to air pollution and climate change.
Here are some simple, effective tips for protecting yourself, your family and your community from the dangers of air pollution:
- Check daily air pollution forecasts in your area. The color-coded forecasts can let you know when the air is unhealthy in your community. Sources include local radio and TV weather reports, newspapers and online at airnow.gov.
- Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. When the air is bad, walk indoors in a shopping mall or gym, if it’s safe to do so, or use an exercise machine. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.
- Always avoid exercising near high-traffic areas. Even when air quality forecasts are green, the vehicles on busy highways can create high pollution levels up to one-third a mile away.
- Use less energy in your home. Generating electricity and other sources of energy creates air pollution. By reducing energy use, you can help improve air quality, curb greenhouse gas emissions, encourage energy independence and save money! Check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's easy tips for conserving energy at home.
- Encourage your child's school to reduce exposure to school bus emissions. To keep exhaust levels down, schools should not allow school buses to idle outside of their buildings. Many school systems are using the U.S. EPA's Clean School Bus Campaign to clean up these dirty emissions.
- Encourage schools and community organizations to participate in EPA’s Air Quality Flag Program to help ensure protective actions on high pollution days.
- Walk, bike or carpool. Combine trips. When it’s safe to do so, use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains or other alternatives to driving your car.
- Don't burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution (soot) in many parts of the country.
- Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Old two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices. They can pollute the air even more than cars, though engines sold since 2011 are cleaner.
- Don't allow anyone to smoke indoors and support measures to make all public places tobacco-free.
Bottom line: Help yourself and everyone else breathe easier. Support national, state and local efforts to clean up sources of pollution. Your life and the life of someone you love may depend on it.
Page last updated: August 17, 2021