Most times when we talk about air pollution, many people’s thoughts go straight to the smog and the smoke from the car exhaust. That is usually referred to as outdoor air pollution but becomes more life-threatening when it turns into indoor air pollution. Indoor pollution happens when some air pollutants like gases and particles pollute the indoor air areas. All these pollutants can induce diseases of the respiratory system or even cause cancer. Getting rid of the air pollutants will help improve the indoor air quality.
In the world population, millions of people prepare their food using traditional methods. For example, the use of wood, coal, charcoal, crop wastes, and dung on open fires. These practices add to the number of air pollutants that travel inside our homes and can lead to dangerous health impairments. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 4.4 million people die from exposure to indoor air pollution yearly.
This household pollution is life-threatening and is in our homes. From a recent study, it was discovered that about two million deaths take place every year as a result of household air pollution. People often wonder, what can we do about this indoor air pollution? Now that you know about the effects of indoor pollution, it’s time to look at some of the ways to curb it.
What Causes of Indoor Air Pollution?
Toxic products or waste, inadequate ventilation, high humidity, and temperature are few of the primary causes of indoor air pollution in our homes.
- Asbestos is ranking high among the causes of indoor pollution. This substance is in most material used for home construction and in the automotive industry. It is commonly found in paints, coatings, building equipment, floors, tiles, and ceilings. Asbestos is rare in new items as new products are asbestos free. However, if you are living in a home built long ago, the risk of asbestos is greater to you. In the US, asbestos has been banned and no longer in use.
- Another leading cause of indoor air pollution is Formaldehyde. Since 1970, it has been banned from being produced in the United States, but still is present in sealants, paints and wood floors.
- Radon is also among the most common indoor air pollutant. It’s usually found in most building materials and various bedrock. It can dissolve into your home walls and is a risk to your family’s health.
- Smoke from tobacco that comes in from outside and inside can stain the walls and hang in the air.
- Various contaminants that spring up in damp areas can be brought inside from outdoor environments. These contaminants include mold, mildew, bacteria, dust mites, and even animal dander can be brought into your home and induce sickness.
- There are also numbers of things in your house that contribute to air pollution. Things like wood stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters. All of these emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Millions of people still use all of these substances as fuel to warm their homes on a regular basis.
- Similar household products like paints, varnishes, and some cleaning products/detergents can pollute the air you breathe in your home.
What are The Effects of Indoor Air Pollution?
- If Asbestos is found in your home, it can cause very serious health problems, such as lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and various other types of cancers.
- If contaminants such as animal dander, dust mites or other bacteria get into the home, there could also be some serious effects. You could start to experience asthma symptoms, throat irritation, flu, and other types of infectious diseases.
- If lead is found in the home, it can also be severely life-threatening. It can cause brain and nerve damage, kidney failure, anemia, and a defective cardiovascular system.
- Formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor air pollutants, can also cause health problems. You may experience irritation of the throat, eyes, and nose, as well as allergic reactions. There have been some cases where it has also caused cancer.
- Tobacco smoke causes individuals to experience severe respiratory irritation, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, as well as lung cancer.
- Chemicals such as those that are used in certain cleaning agents and paints can cause you to experience a loss of coordination, liver, brain, and kidney damage, as well as some types of cancer.
- If you use a gas stove in your home, it can cause respiratory infections and damage and irritation to the lungs.
Ways to Improve Indoor Air quality
- Smoking is on the top list of air pollutants that contribute most to indoor air pollution. The easiest solution is to quit smoking and make your home atmosphere an anti-smoking zone. The less smoke that is released into your house, the less chance of the negative effect on anyone in your home.
- Do away with the use of a gas stove in your home and certain types of space heaters.
- Take time to check your cleaning supplies’ ingredients to make sure they’re environmentally friendly. Eliminate all those that could potentially be dangerous. To know the exactly what types are safe, search online for environmentally-friendly cleaning ingredients.
- Check your home for any radon, mold, bacteria or harmful chemical that may be present. These inspections should be done before buying a home, too.
- Examine your home for asbestos or related products. This should be done before moving into a new home. But, if you are living in an older house, it is very important to check there is no lingering asbestos.
- Buy a good vacuum cleaner with strong brushes that can get rid of allergens and chemicals that gather together in your house. Places in your house with the most traffic must be properly cleaned using your vacuum cleaner.
- Most dirt comes into your home through your shoes. Put a large mat near every door and ask visitors to remove their shoes.
Indoor Air Pollution is among the things that are accountable for millions of deaths in the world. Many of the items we use most are responsible for the majority of pollution of the air in our home. Now that you know a little about what causes indoor air pollution, you can take steps to fix it.