Top 6 indoor air pollutants that are making you sick!
Talking about air pollution, we believe it is safe to be indoors away from the polluted air outside. But did we ever question ourselves ‘how safe are we indoors?’ Well, the facts about indoor air suggest the opposite. Research suggests that we spend 90% of our time indoors and the air inside is 2-5 times more contaminated than the air we breathe outside. Thus, this raises an alarm we need to be more aware of the hidden air pollutants around us which are unknowingly making us sick every day. There are several factors such as the increase in the usage of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners that results in the higher concentration of indoor air pollutants.
Let us find out the various pollutants that are present in our home:
- Volatile organic compounds: These chemicals are emitted as gases from a variety of household items such as furniture, paints, varnishes, cleaning agents, disinfecting agents, cosmetics, degreasing, and hobby products. The presence of Volatile Organic chemicals is ten times higher indoors than outdoors. These are highly toxic and cause adverse health effects.
- Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS): It is the mixture of smoke that comes from the combustion of tobacco products such as the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. Smoking indoors results in passive smoking which has severe health implications for a ‘non-smoker.’ The known health effects of ETS are asthma, lung cancer and certain childhood disorders such as bronchitis and heart disease.
- Asbestos: It is a naturally occurring mineral that is resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. It is used in a variety of building construction materials such as ceiling, floor tiles, paper products, asbestos cement products, etc. Asbestos fibres can be released into the air by the disturbance of product use, demolition work, building or home maintenance, repair, and remodelling. These particles remain suspended in the air and then enter deeper zones of the lungs causing lung cancer and other noncancerous conditions such as pleural plaques.
- Biological pollutants: Viruses, bacteria, pollen, animal hair and dander, pollen, moulds are several types of biological pollutants. They stay suspended in the air for prolonged periods and cause various airborne infections and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It also leads to allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
- Combustion products: Fireplaces, gas stoves, unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, and woodstoves release toxic air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas that is difficult to detect without a specific detector and can be fatal for the human body.
- Radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that is generated naturally in the soil and enters the house from the ground. Radon is harmless in the open air but is toxic in the enclosed space such as a house and is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
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