Each year, Air Quality Awareness Week is a joint effort by the Environmental Health Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) to educate the public about the growing problem of air pollution. Though great steps have been made to curb outdoor air pollution in the past few decades, indoor air has become a much bigger topic of conversation, and air quality in general should be a priority discussion year-round.
Air quality issues have different sources and impacts; they can include byproducts from fossil fuel combustion, disease transmission from exhaled particles, and even the buildup of carbon dioxide from breathing. The Cofounder of Molekule, Jaya Rao, led a discussion among three health experts on the topic of air quality. The goal of the panel was to bring like minded people together so they could inspire reactions on current air quality issues. They discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and how both the changes in our behavior and the disease itself have had an impact on our health and society. Given that air quality is going to continue to be an issue for years to come, they also discussed who is impacted disproportionately by air pollution and what kinds of things we can do to help.
Jaya Rao, MS is the Cofounder of Molekule, Inc., and has spent her career developing PECO technology, a novel air cleaning technology. In addition to her duties as Cofounder, Jaya is an outspoken advocate for women in STEM and diversity in the tech industry.
Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS is an infectious disease specialist who works for the COVID Tracking Project that aggregates and analyzes data to provide key links in understanding the trends in the spread of the disease. She is a champion of vaccine education and has made regular appearances on CNN, BBC, and other media outlets.
Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD is a dermatologist who educates her patients on the damage that air pollution can do to our skin. She is an advocate for diversity in dermatology so all skin tones and socioeconomic circumstances are considered in skin care.
Dr. Tania Elliot, MD is an asthma and allergy specialist who specializes in spreading information about the common causes of allergies and asthma. She has appeared on many outlets with presentations on this topic including Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and others.