What Makes a Sunset?

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Have you ever wondered what makes a sunset? Why does the sky light up with red, orange, and yellow at the end of the day?

It’s all down to light, how far it has to travel, and how it interacts with molecules in the air. During the day, when the sun is at its highest, light doesn’t need to travel far. These shorter wavelengths of light create blue and green colors. But as the sun travels towards the horizon at the end of the day, light has to travel farther, and it’s this distance that creates the red, yellow, and orange hues of a sunset.

Air Pollution Changes the Colors of a Sunset.

More and more, we are seeing sunsets that light up the sky with deep reds and scarlets. Although beautiful, this is not a good thing and is actually an indication that the air is heavily polluted.

According to Sergey Nizkorodov, a chemist at the University of California,

“Most (pollution) particles suspended above cities scatter radiation, preferentially removing the cooler violets and blues in the spectral palette and enhancing the red.”

Pollutants in Rural Areas

This change to the evening sky is particularly apparent in rural areas, where large-scale agricultural activity takes place. Pesticides, fertilizers, dust, and machinery release huge amounts of pollutants into the surrounding air. This can have significant implications for local residents, as these contaminants find their way indoors.

Pesticide exposure has been linked to Parkinson’s disease (1), Alzheimer’s (2), and certain cancers (3). Studies involving children reveal that exposure to pesticides increases the risk of autism and ADHD (4). According to one study (5), even low-level exposure to certain pesticides could affect a child’s neurological and behavioral development.

Clinical Trial Finds Austin Air Improves Air Quality in Rural Areas

Poor air quality in rural areas is something we have been concerned with for some years. Back in 2015, we partnered with the University of Washington to measure how using an Austin Air purifier could help to improve air quality for children with asthma living in the Yakima Valley in Washington State. The area is known for a range of intensive agricultural activities that have a major impact on pollution levels.

For the purposes of the study, an Austin Air purifier was placed in both the living area and the child’s bedroom. Pollution levels were then closely monitored. As with previous studies, the results were significant. Pollution levels in the living area were reduced by 48%, and in the children’s bedrooms, they were reduced by an incredible 65%.

The results of this study support our previous findings. Running an Austin Air purifier will help to improve indoor air quality and positively impact the health of those involved.

But it’s important to remember, that it’s not just at home that we are at risk. Pollutants from agriculture can find their way into classrooms, and offices, in fact, any indoor space. If you’d like to learn more about our range of air purifiers and what they can do to keep your indoor space clean and safe, visit our SHOP page today.

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(1) Parkinson’s disease and pesticides: A meta-analysis of disease connection and genetic alterations – PubMed (nih.gov)

(2) Pesticide exposure and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis – PMC (nih.gov)

(3) Organophosphate insecticide use and cancer incidence among spouses of pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study – PubMed (nih.gov)

(4) Environmental chemical exposures and autism spectrum disorders: a review of the epidemiological evidence – PubMed (nih.gov)

(5) Pesticide Exposure and Child Neurodevelopment – PMC (nih.gov)

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