The air we breathe is not pure and healthy. There are harmful toxic petrol fumes and carbon dioxide emissions. This makes a sufficient reason for you to stay indoors, where you might think you are safe. But what one face indoors can be even more harmful. Indoor air pollution is the degradation of indoor air quality by the presence of harmful chemicals. It can be 10 times worse than the outdoor air pollution because contained areas help the pollutants to build up more than open spaces do.
According to EPA, indoor environment is two to five times more harmful than the outdoor environment. In some cases, the air measured indoors have been found 100 times more polluted.
Both outdoor and indoor air pollution are dangerous for your health. Air pollution can damage your skin. Also, toxins present in the air cause the skin to age prematurely, especially on the face, neck and hands. It is important for everyone to recognize the problem, identify the symptoms and look out for ways to prevent or minimize the damage.
Indoor air pollution is caused due to dust and other impurities generated from sources such as environmental tobacco smoke, furniture, building materials, air fresheners, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), cooking and other indoor activities.
Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution can cause dry mucous membrane in eyes, nose, respiratory tract and throat. It also causes fatigue, dizziness, fever etc.
The health effects by indoor air pollution can go up to diseases like asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and Legionnaire’s disease.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Inadequate ventilation is the primary cause of indoor air pollution and the reason for rise in pollutants. In industrial areas, lack of air conditioning and high level of humidity are the main reasons for the rise in pollutants. Other sources include gases from cooking and heating, chemicals from candles, household cleansers etc.
Radon is a poisonous gas that arises from the soil and may be in building materials. It may contain radium or uranium.
Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of the increase in lung cancer, contributing to 15,000-21,000 deaths each year.
Tobacco smoke contains 200 types of poisons and 43 types of compounds causing cancer.
Mold and viruses are found indoors and must be treated. Call professionals if you have mold in your home who use green methods to rectify the problem.
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 adds to the problem making it serious.
Indoor use of cleansers, pesticides, paints, air fresheners, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), are the primary causes which emits toxins throughout the home.
Solutions to Indoor Air Pollution
Eliminate the Source
Adjust all the cooking and heating appliances including gas stoves to decrease the emissions. Clean all the air conditioners, air ducts on regular intervals.
Most of the cooling and heating systems do not bring the fresh outdoor air indoors. Only opening the windows and doors help to bring the fresh air in. Kitchen and Bathroom exhaust fans can also be of great help in reducing indoor air pollution. Maintain indoor humidity levels at 30-50%. Avoid all the bottles and containers made up of plastic and any non-stick cooking pans. Also, one can eat organic to reduce chemical ingestion.
While keeping in mind all these reports, health effects and sources of indoor air pollution, improving the quality of air is vital for human health.