The air we breathe is not pure and healthy. The harmful toxic petrol fumes and carbon dioxide emissions, which are the major factors of outdoor pollution. Staying indoors doesn’t keep you safe from the dangers of pollution. The reason is indoor air is 10 times more polluted than the outdoor air, which makes you vulnerable to a lot of diseases. There are a number of factors such as lack of proper ventilation, accumulation of dust mites, pet hair and dander contribute to indoor air pollution. So, in this blog, we will discuss in detail about indoor air pollution and its effects on your health.
What are the major indoor air pollutants?
Dust and other impurities from tobacco smoke, furniture, building materials are the leading contributors to indoor air pollution. In addition to these, some lesser known sources such as air fresheners, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), cooking fumes and cigarette smoking also lead to indoor air pollution. The major pollutants found in the indoor air are mentioned below:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrogen Oxide
- Second -hand Smoke
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
These air pollutants are emitted from the everyday products that you use. Starting from the cleaning agents, perfumes, to the furniture that you use, everything contributes to indoor air pollution. As most of you are not aware of the sources of indoor air pollution, it exposes you to a lot of health risks.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Below mentioned are the sources inside your home which can cause air pollution:
Inadequate ventilation is the primary cause of indoor air pollution and the reason for the rise in pollutants. In industrial areas, lack of air conditioning, high level of humidity are the main reasons for the rise in pollutants.
A poisonous gas, radon arises from the soil and may also be present in building materials. The harmful gas contains radium or uranium, which are harmful to your health. Exposure to radon is the second-leading cause of the increase in lung cancer, which contributes to 15,000-21,000 deaths each year.
Cigarette smoke is another leading cause of indoor air pollution. Tobacco smoke contains approximately 200 different types of poisons and 43 types of compounds that lead to cancer. Exposure to second hand smoke leads to a number of health problems such as eye, nose and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure leads to wheezing, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Mold is one of the common sources of indoor air pollution. Leakages, humidity, lack of ventilation provide an ideal environment for mold growth. If you notice any damp smell, there are chances that your home has mold growth and you need to take the right steps to avoid further damage.
Cooking and Heating
Cooking and heating of gas, kerosene, oil or wood sources give off nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals. Poor ventilation system worsens the situation and leads to respiratory diseases.
The household products that you use regularly also contribute to poor indoor air quality. The most common air pollutant that emitted from your household products is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The common sources of VOCs are:
- Paint stripper
- Air fresheners
- Perfumes and Hair Spray
Other than VOCs, your household products also emit formaldehyde, which is a major contributor to indoor air pollution. The common sources of VOCs are:
- Wooden furniture
Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution can also lead to a number of health problems similar to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can damage your skin, lead to respiratory diseases, cancer and irritation in the eyes and nose. According to reports by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of cancers are due to environmental factors and not genetic. This is why, it is important for everyone to recognize the problems caused by indoor air pollution, identify the symptoms and look out for ways to prevent or minimize the damage. Indoor air pollution also leads to the dry mucous membrane in eyes, nose, respiratory tract and throat, fatigue, dizziness, and fever. The health effects of indoor air pollution can go up to diseases like asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and Legionnaire’s disease.
Solutions to Indoor Air Pollution
Below mentioned are the solution to stay safe from the harmful effects of indoor air pollution.
Eliminate the Source
Adjust all the cooking and heating appliances including gas stoves to decrease the emissions. In addition, make it a point to clean the air conditioners and air ducts at regular intervals to reduce indoor air pollutants.
Installing an air purifier is the most effective way to reduce indoor air pollution in your home. However, choosing the right air purifier for your home can be a difficult task. For the best results, choose a high-efficiency HEPA air purifier as it can effectively remove 99.97% of the pollutants. HEPA air purifier also removes PM 2.5 and PM 10 from the indoor air. Some of the best air purifiers in India are KENT HEPA air purifiers, MI air purifier, and Philips. KENT has topped the list as it has the most advanced features and specifications.
In addition to using an air purifier, you also need to ventilate your home properly to reduce indoor air pollution. In most of the Indian homes, heating and cooling systems do not allow proper ventilation. A well-ventilated home helps in controlling the indoor air pollution by removing or diluting indoor air pollutants emitted from the indoor sources. Make it a habit to open the doors and windows from 3-4 pm as the level of pollution is lowest during this time. Install exhaust fans in the kitchens and bathrooms to reduce indoor air pollution.
Last Few Words
Now that you have a clear idea about indoor air pollution and its effects on your health, you need to take the appropriate steps to reduce indoor air pollution. Improving the quality of indoor air is vital to reduce the chances of a number of harmful diseases. Following the steps mentioned above can go a long way in reducing indoor air pollution and keep you healthy.