Is Air Conditioner Bad For Health And Environment?

Is air conditioning bad for health and the environment? If you are looking for a short answer, then it is not any worse than your light bulbs or your refrigerators. 

There are many diametrically opposing views on this topic. 

Before we could make any sensible statement on this issue, we must understand things ‘in context.’ Failing to do so will blow things out of proportion.

In What Ways Are Air Conditioners Bad For The Environment?

  • Air conditioners consume a lot of energy. This increases the carbon footprint that we leave behind.
  • Air conditioners are believed to emit HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) into the atmosphere, and it is considered to be responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.
  • The modern-day AC units use plastic. When the older AC units are discarded, they have a negative impact on the planet as the plastic used is made of non-biodegradable material. 

In What Ways Air Conditioner Is Bad For Health?

  • If the air conditioner is set to temperatures that are too low, it could cause headaches when someone happens to work in such an environment.
  • Air conditioners are considered to cause respiratory diseases and breathing problems.
  • An air-conditioned environment increases the symptoms of neuritis, a condition where the peripheral nerves suffer inflammation. 
  • When the environmental temperature is low, the synovial fluid grows thick. This is the shock absorber in the joints. This makes the joints become stiffer, and the sensitivity to pain increases, making pain management difficult for arthritis patients. (https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/coping-with-arthritis-in-winter/).
  • Low temps may also increase the thickness of the synovial fluid that acts as the joint’s shock absorber, which makes joints stiffer and more sensitive to pain.
  • Being in closed air-conditioned environments can increase the chances of infectious diseases.
  • Spending a lot of time in a room with an air conditioner will result in dry skin and drying of mucous membranes. The moisture content of the skin is lost when you are constantly exposed to cold and dry air.
  • The air conditioner increases blood pressure. In cold temperatures, our body fights to retain the body heat by constricting the arteries in our skin. This increases the resistance to blood flow, causing high blood pressure. (https://www.aivc.org/resource/air-conditioning-and-health-effect-pulse-and-blood-pressure-young-healthy-nigerians
  • People that spend a lot of time in air-conditioned environments become less tolerant to heat and summer temperatures. Our body gets used to the lower, cooler temperatures and is unable to adjust when exposed to hotter outdoor environments. 

Are these allegations valid?

  • The latest air conditioners are highly energy efficient as opposed to the older versions that we used to own. 
  • Air conditioners, when they are working well without any problem, there is no danger of HFC emission. Only when there is a leakage or malfunction, there is HFC emission.
  • AC is not the only equipment that makes use of non-biodegradable plastic. Moreover, it is possible to recycle non-biodegradable plastic using modern recycling methods.
  • If your AC unit is well maintained and the filters cleaned regularly, you can reduce the risks pertaining to respiratory diseases. 
  • Well maintained air conditioning systems enhance the air quality.

Conclusion

Every invention that we have today has its own negative impacts and slippery slope. The same applies to air conditioners as well. 

We cannot totally deny the negative impacts air conditioners have on the environment and one’s health. 

The negative impacts could be alleviated through the responsible use of the air conditioners. 

Always choose the best air conditioner brands and ensure that it is professionally installed by technicians authorized by the brand.

Preksha
 

Preksha is passionate about writing articles that will inspire readers to make better choices. You will find her eating desserts for lunch, dinner and any time of the day. Also, she is the chief playlist engineer for any road trip.

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