Understanding the air quality around a home can help you protect your family from a host of pollution-related health risks.
Buying a home is all about location, location, location — but does “location” mean what we think it does? While we know that a “good location” should offer access to a high-quality school system, low-traffic streets, and a safe neighborhood, we often fail to consider the pollution levels around a potential home. While good air quality may not top your list of “must-haves,” it probably should be.
Emitted by motor vehicles, factories, wildfires, and more, air pollution can lead to a host of adverse health outcomes for children, pregnant women, athletes, and more. As a home buyer, equipping yourself with insight regarding this invisible threat can help you make an informed decision regarding where you choose to live. A decision ] that will help keep you and your family safe for years to come.
Why Pollution Levels Should Inform Home-Buying Decisions
Air pollution is a toxic mix of dust, dirt, gas, and/or smoke that can infiltrate the bloodstream and break through the lungs’ protective barriers. While healthy individuals don’t usually feel the effects of breathing low-quality air immediately, extended exposure to poor air quality can lead to asthma, cancer, heart disease, and more.
Children are at a particularly high risk, as approximately 80% of our alveoli (tiny air sacs within our lungs) continue to develop until we reach our early twenties. If a person is exposed to poor air quality throughout their childhood, it can stunt this development, leading to irreversible respiratory issues like shortness of breath and poor stamina. Children who breathe polluted air regularly are also more likely to develop asthma and experience higher rates of bronchitis, chronic cough, and conjunctivitis.
In some cases, the effects of air pollution in children can begin before they are even born. Pregnant women, especially those in their third trimester, who are exposed to high levels of air pollution have been shown to have children with an increased risk of autism. Pregnant women who are exposed to certain types of air pollution may also be more likely to have a miscarriage or a child with a low birth weight.
Empower Yourself with Location-Specific Air Pollution Information
Having access to accurate, granular air quality information can help you feel confident in your home-buying decision-making.
It’s important to keep in mind that all locations, from rural country lanes to busy city streets, carry their own air pollution risk factors. Dust from unpaved roads, farm equipment, and construction sites, smoke from wildfires and bush burnings, and gas particles from traffic and factories can all affect the air we breathe. Even local weather and seasonal changes can cause air quality to fluctuate frequently. That’s why new methods of accurate, real-time and hyper-local air quality data are so important.
The changing and dynamic nature of air quality makes it difficult to pin down the precise pollution levels at any given location. While government agencies across the globe strive to keep us apprised of local air quality, this data often fails to capture the full picture.
That’s why resources like this air quality real estate report are so valuable - it offers an in-depth look at all of the factors contributing to the air quality levels in your potential new backyard, and specific pollutant trends over the course of a year at that location.
(View the full sample Air Quality Real Estate Report here)
Finding the Right Fit for You
While the risks associated with air pollution are myriad, they don’t have to keep you from buying the home of your dreams. Advances in technology have made it possible to determine air quality on a minute-by-minute, street-by-street basis.
BreezoMeter was created for this very reason. When our company co-founder was in the market for a new home, they tried to look for one in a low-pollution area. What our CEO, who was an environmental engineer at the time, quickly realized was that there was a gap in the information available: air pollution in real time, down to the city block level. Several years later, with the help of two fellow environmental engineers, BreezoMeter was founded!