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MDI Inhalers — What is the Environmental Impact?

The importance of making environmentally conscious decisions has never been more stressed than in the present day, so you may be surprised to hear about the recent concerns over MDI inhalers and their impact on the environment.

What Is a Metered-Dose Inhaler?

A metered-dose inhaler is a small, handheld device that delivers respiratory medication. It does this by using a pressurized canister, that converts the medicines to an aerosol. To use the metered-dose inhaler, you simply press the canister inside the device down while inhaling.

Metered-dose inhalers are one of the most widely-drug delivery devices; however, it is often advised that they're used in conjunction with a "spacer" to ensure optimal dosage — especially when used by children.

Hoe Do Metered-Dose Inhalers Affect The Environment?

Recent studies have shown that metered-dose inhalers have a significant carbon footprint, equating to an estimate of 500g of greenhouse gas emissions per dose. In fact, according to the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, one hundred doses (the typical amount contained in a canister) from a metered-dose inhaler, creates the same carbon footprint as a 180-mile car journey.

But why is their environmental impact so significant? It's because they use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as propellants. HCF'S are man-made organic compounds — and also powerful greenhouse gases.

Person With Asthma Holding Inhaler In Front of Their Mouth Prior to Use

What Should I Do If I Use a Metered-Dose Inhaler? 

The most important thing you should do is continue to take your respiratory medication as instructed. If you're concerned about your carbon footprint and would like to do your part for the planet, discuss your available options with your healthcare provider.

 Metered-dose inhalers aren't the only drug delivery method for respiratory medicines. Environmentally-friendly alternatives such as nebulizers and powder inhalers are an excellent option for some people and can help improve emissions.

In fact, NICE researchers estimate that by replacing one in every ten MDI inhaler with a more environmentally friendly drug-delivery method, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 58 kilotonnes!

Women With Asthma Embracing Clean Air on Outdoor Hike

For more information about AireHealth’s connected-portable nebulizer and how it can improve your respiratory care, click here.

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