What is indoor air pollution, and what you can do about it

November 22, 2019 3:02 PM |

Delhi’s air is making it to the headlines every other day. The government sure is thinking about the outside air pollutants, but what about the indoor pollution that seeps in under the roofs and infests decorated homes and people living indoors. Yes, you heard that right- your room’s air can be more polluted than the air outside. Considering the time, we spend indoors, it’s a major threat to human health than anything else. To know better is to fight better! Let’s get our basics right-

 

Major Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

1. Dust, which can trigger respiratory allergies in people who are sensitive to them. Pets, carpets and mattresses are known to trap dust and microorganisms.

2. Household cleaning chemicals, paints and solvents. Inhaling these can cause headaches, skin and throat irritation.

3. Synthetic fragrances, perfumes, deodorants. Substances used in manufacturing these are largely unregulated and are not monitored by the government. The constituents are capable of causing skin irritation, allergic reaction, cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and reproductive disorders.

4. Volatile organic gases released by paint, lacquer, glue and plywood.

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5. Insecticides, herbicides and pesticide- Vapors of these chemicals contain toxic substances such as arsenic that are known to disrupt the endocrine system and lead to cancerous growth.

6. Dry cleaned clothes which contain trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, which are highly toxic substances that are known to cause cancer.

7. Secondhand tobacco smoke which contains 200 known poisons and 43 carcinogens.

8. Biological pollutants such as mold, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and dust mites that could diseases, trigger hay fever or induce asthma in adults and children.

9. Carpets and upholstery that use formaldehyde as permanent adhesive.

10. Chlorine by-products which react with organic matter like skin, hair, bacteria and etc. Inhaling these chemicals can cause damages to the respiratory system.

11. Fumes from paraffin wax candles.

12. Minute particles and gases from office machines and stationery like copiers, laser printers, correction fluid.

13. Radon gas from kitchen countertop, attic and basement.

14. Combustion pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide emitted by unvented or poorly vented fuel-burning appliances such as fireplace, heater, wood or gas stove, water heater and dryer.

 

Taming Indoor Air Pollution with ease

As fortunate as it might sound, indoor air pollution is much more manageable and easier to tame than the air outside. Here are some simple steps you can do to cut down on your exposure to all the above-mentioned pollutants:

1. Cleaning regularly with a vacuum cleaner and wiping dusty surfaces with a damp cloth

2. Weekly washing of bed sheets, pillowcases and blankets.

3. Replace synthetic cleaning agents and fragrances with natural alternatives such as diluted essential oils.

4. Replace herbicides or pesticides with natural pest control products such as neem oil.

5. Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. Open those windows and let fresh air seep in (unless you are in Delhi).

6. Use an air purifier or air filter. If you can help it, install an air filter in every room to improve air-cleaning efficiency. Or better you can go for some house plants that do the job equally well.

7. Cut your exposure to chlorine by installing a whole house water filtration system. Now even your shower and washing water will be harmless.

8. Keep humidity under control and fight pollutants, like mold, mildew and fungus effectively.

9. Using a vacuum cleaner that comes with a high-efficiency small particle filters has been shown to significantly reduce interior particulate pollution and subsequently, asthma and allergy symptoms.

10. Replace toxin-releasing furniture or interior deco materials if you’re refurbishing your home or office.

Image Credits – prismma.in

Any information taken from here should be credited to Skymet Weather






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