On August 14, RCFC member Dr. P. K. Vedanthan (Clinical Professor, University of Colorado Dept. of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) discussed indoor and outdoor pollution, their sources, their impacts, and potential mitigating strategies and solutions. 
Humans are tough!  The lungs process some 10,000 liters of air and 10,000 liters of blood every day.  Breathing through the nose prepares that air for the lungs by humidifying & warming it and removing much of the particulate matter.  However, some pollution (he mentioned especially Tobacco smoke), can result in epigenetic changes (changes in how the genes are expressed) that can be transmitted to two succeeding generations.  In spite of toughness and nasal preparation, we feel it if the lungs are compromised, there are multiple environmental  factors that affect the respiratory health. 
Babies, both “in-utero” and new-born, are subject to increased risk from pollutants.  Some 287 pollutants, foreign chemicals, and pesticides have been found in umbilical cords based on random sampling.  Dust mite antigen has been found in amniotic fluid at 20 weeks.  Lungs of newborns take about one year to mature so the tissue can potentially  be easily damaged.  Newborns are subjected to small concentrations of volatile organic compounds indoors from many newly purchased items in their environment.  Indoor plants like Boston fern, English Ivy, Spider plant, Areca Palm, Rubber plant, Bamboo palm, chrysanthemum have the ability to remove these indoor chemicals and hence are beneficial.
In less developed countries, some 90% of the rural people use biomass fuels (e.g., dung or wood) exposing their family, especially women and children to indoor pollution, resulting in some 3.8 million premature death per year.  This could be mitigated by use of better-designed stoves (e.g., the Envirofit stove from CSU) which could be distributed to employees as loyalty programs rather than candy or other non-beneficial premiums.  In the same environments, mosquito repellant coils may be effective against mosquitos but, equivalent to 75 to 137 cigarettes, may be more dangerous than the mosquitos. 
Outdoor pollution is mostly from humans: smog (both sulfurous and photochemical), extreme weather, increased mold, and increased pollen.  There are also toxic pollutants that have environmental and health impacts.  In northern Colorado, we are out of compliance for Ozone (O3) which is formed during times of high temperature from auto emissions, factory exhaust, and some output from oil & gas exploration.  In summary, air pollution is a silent killer to which children are especially vulnerable; can lead to cardiac problems. 
In summary, he commented that pollution is a co-factor or catalyst for a number of bad health effects.  You may be genetically prone to a particular health impact and pollution may turn on those genes to cause you problems. 
So what can we do and why should we be hopeful?  Eat foods (especially fruits and vegetables) rich in antioxidants; numerous types of indoor plants reduce the prevalence of indoor pollutants.  Outdoors, reduce the use of fossil fuels and use bicycles.  As for being hopeful, he commented “that is the only way things work”.