In our cities, the air we breathe is not clean. Coal plants and factories belch out harmful CO2, trucks and cars spew filthy exhaust fumes. Many families in our cities rely on coal and wood fires for heating and cooking. On the outskirts of the city, cows and other farm animals add methane to the mix. Sometimes just looking out your window at all the pollution may be enough to make you stay indoors.
The degradation of indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor pollution. Pollutants can build up more in the much smaller closed up area of your home. They may not be ventilated to the outside.
You may think indoor air pollution does not apply to you. In addition, you don’t live near a highway, farm or industrial plant. You don’t smoke and you don’t use a wood-burning stove. However, the air you breathe may still be polluted.
Some very surprising sources cause indoor air pollution:
- Your house itself.
- The land on which your house is constructed.
Furthermore, we spend a large portion of our time indoors. Indoor pollution can then becomes a serious concern.
Side effects of air pollution
Some side effects of indoor pollution may be a little worse than the common cold. However, pollution can lead to coma, lung cancer and death if you are exposed over a long period.
The likelihood is that you encounter at least one harmful chemical in your home every day. Even if this is not so you may not yet be safe! Using hairspray or air fresheners indoors can release high levels of air pollutants in a very short time.
For instance, chemicals leaching out of your carpets and furniture will severely affect the air quality over time.
Listed below are some most common causes of indoor air pollution:
Cigarette smoke carries many toxins. It remains within contained spaces and can cause many medical problems for humans and pets. If you or someone in your family smokes rather do it outside the home.
Biological contaminants include bacteria, mould, mildew, viruses, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches and pollen. Many of these are carried into the house or grow in damp, warm environments. When you don’t open windows and doors after using showers and baths mould will form on walls and ceilings. Furthermore, you should prevent condensation on windows and walls in your bedroom by keeping a window open while you sleep.
Unvented gas heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces and gas stoves emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and small particles. Therefore, take care when using solid fuels like wood and coal for heating and cooking. Ventilate the room or house sufficiently.
Paint, varnishes, hobby products, air fresheners and cleaning products release organic chemicals. Therefore, be careful with their use and storage.
Furthermore, up to 80% of exposure to pesticides happens indoors. Many homes have pesticides in indoor air at measurable levels. In addition, the potential harm from pollutants is dependent on individual sensitivity. The elderly, the young and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible.
Therefore, to prevent harm from these pollutants adequate ventilation in the home is very important. If fresh air frequently circulates throughout your home pesticides won’t accumulate and reach dangerous levels. Open windows and doors when the weather is nice, and especially after a lightning storm when the air is cleaner.