Barely a day goes by when you’re not warned by your local news anchor about the bad air quality in your city and how it affects your family’s health. Naturally, you’d think it has to do with all the vehicle emissions, industrial smoke and so on but no one would guess that a large amount of air pollution happens right in the comfort of our homes.
According to EPA (Environment Protection Agency), the air in your house can be 10 times more polluted than the outdoors. Most of us spend 65% to 90% of their time indoors which makes the risk of exposure to indoor pollutants very high.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
Most of us are unaware of what’s polluting the air inside our homes because it isn’t necessarily talked about as much as it should be. Here are a few primary sources of indoor air pollution that you should look out for:
- Dust that is accumulated on drapes, pillows and other furnishings in your home. Dust mites especially thrive in conditions where there is excess moisture or water.
- Pet dander, skin flakes, mold spores, insulation and pollen contain microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. These microbes are known to worsen the conditions of people suffering from respiratory illnesses.
- Second-hand tobacco smoke. By now you must be aware that passive smoking is just as, if not more, dangerous than active smoking.
- Smoke from wood stoves, gas stoves, heaters, fireplaces and kerosene. Since you tend to be close to the stove while cooking, you directly inhale the thick, black smoke which then enters your respiratory tract and your lungs.
- Volatile organic compounds like wall paints, solvents, cleaners, air fresheners and sprays. Formaldehyde, a chemical preservative, that is present in these substances is very toxic to humans.
Apart from this, poor ventilation where proper air circulation between the outside air and the air in your home doesn’t occur will result in the dust particles and the smoke being trapped inside your home. This is highly dangerous for everyone in the family, including the young and the old who have compromised immune systems.
How Does It Affect Us?
All of these sources combined together pose a serious threat to our health. In fact, a recent study done by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the health effects of chemicals present in household items (perfumes, cleaning agents, paints and pesticides) are the same as vehicle emissions. This goes to show just how much your health suffers just by using everyday things.
The health effects of indoor air pollution will show up as allergies, cold, influenza, wheezing, fatigue and even headaches. Along with respiratory problems like nasal congestion, nosebleeds, difficulty in breathing, chronic bronchitis, asthma and severe lung disorder, many other health effects related to heart, kidney and liver can also be a result of bad air quality. Did you know that just by spending time in a polluted building, one can experience the symptoms of sickness? This is called as sick-building syndrome.
Studies show that moms who are exposed to air pollution during pregnancy have higher chances of giving birth to a baby with birth defects like cleft lip, abnormal heart valve and low birth weight. Certain behavioural changes in children like aggressiveness, irritability, short attention-span and low IQ levels are also linked with indoor air pollution. In a report released by World Health Organization, it was seen that the number of Indians who die in a year as a result of indoor air pollution was a staggering 1.3 million, which is much higher than the death rate due to outdoor air pollution.
What Can You Do About it?
Although the risks due to indoor air pollution are unfathomable, unlike outdoor air pollution where you can’t stop the factories from working or people from travelling in their vehicles, you can substantially improve the quality of your indoor air by taking certain measures. These include using lead-free paint for the walls and making sure your home is well ventilated by opening the windows and doors often.
The most important step to be taken in order to breathe healthy and clean air is to install an air purifier in your house. As the name suggests, it will help get rid of all the pollutants and contaminants in the air making it healthy. We have been using a Dr. Aeroguard air purifier since a few months now and we can safely say that it has improved the overall air quality around us. This range of air purifiers comes equipped with 9-stage filtration process which includes anti-allergen filter, anti-dust, advanced HEPA filter and therapeutic filter that releases vitamin C into the air around you. These GUI-German lab certified air purifier not only efficient but also very aesthetically pleasing.