Air pollution is not something people usually consider when looking for a home, but it is one of the most important factors one should not ignore. This is because polluted air has dangerous health effects, such as these two:

Impaired Cognitive Function

There is evidence that air pollution affects the cognitive functions (brain activities associated with knowledge) of the neighborhood's residents. The effect is even there in unborn babies; expectant mothers who breathe in the polluted air tend to give birth to kids with delayed neurodevelopment. This can even affect your child's academic performance in school and may accelerate your cognitive decline (a natural byproduct of aging).

Organ Damage

Apart from affecting your cognitive functions, pollutants in the air can also affect your vital organs. Your lungs and respiratory tract, for example, can suffer damage after being exposed to polluted air. The extent of the damage depends on the number and type of pollutants in the air, as well as the duration of the exposure. Of course, the duration of the exposure will be directly proportional to the number of years you will be living in the polluted neighborhood.

The good news is that you don't have to be surprised by the extent of air pollution in a neighborhood. There are steps you can take to determine the level of air pollution in an area before acquiring a home there. Here are some of those steps:

Take a Tour of the Area                 

A simple tour of your target home can give you a rough idea of what to expect in term of air pollution. Obvious signs of air pollution include bad odor and thick smog. However, you should also expect considerable pollution if there are lots of factories in the area and most of them are spewing gases in the air.

Use Online Resources

Some forms of air pollution are not easy to detect with the naked eye. Fortunately, there are online resources you can use to get an idea of how polluted a place is. A good example is The Air Quality Index maintained by WebMD. Here, you just need to plug in your ZIP code and get a measure of the air pollution in the area.

As you can see, air pollution is a dangerous health hazard, which means it is one of the top factors you should consider when looking for a home. A real estate agent can help you understand if there are planned developments in the area, and whether they may increase the pollution.