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When air pollution is mentioned, what comes in the mind of many people is the pollutants present in the outdoor environment. There is air pollution indoors too despite the absence of vehicles and industries. Indoor air quality can be reduced due to biological, chemical and physical factors. But there are ways to minimize such pollution and increase your indoor air quality. Here are the sources, effects and prevention tips of poor indoor air quality.
While outdoor air pollution is majorly caused by combustion of fossil fuels, the sources of indoor type include coal, biomass fuels, biological pollutants, household products and construction materials. The main sources are cigarette smoke, mold growth, body sprays, pollens, aerosols, polishes, cleaning products, dust, paints, asbestos, cosmetics, lead, formaldehyde, solid fuels etc. Many people and industries still use biomass fuels, such as wood, to generate energy. Burning these types of energy sources can also cause air pollution indoors.
According to many studies and reports, indoor air pollution is listed among the top five public health risk factors. Since we spend most of our time indoors, the indoor air pollutants cause or exacerbate 50 percent of our medical problems. Moreover, 90 percent common cold cases are contracted indoors, while only 10 percent are contracted outdoors. They mainly lead to respiratory health conditions. Common medical conditions arising include headache, fatigue, irritation of eyes, runny nose and allergic responses. Indoor air pollution is the leading cause of childhood asthma.
Several researches and studies have been conducted for air pollution prevention. Simple ways to improve indoor air quality include maintaining proper ventilation, growing houseplants and minimizing the sources of contaminants. To improve commercial air quality, you need to limit the use of smoke, chemical carcinogens, fumes etc. in your office or industry. Filtering indoor air by using a central system for the whole building is the most efficient way to improve indoor air quality. Alternatively, you can use room air purifiers though they are not as efficient as central systems. Whichever system you pick, ensure it has a HEPA filter.
The air pollutants present indoors is 30 – 100 times higher than those found outdoors. While outdoor air pollutants get diffused with time, offices and homes are enclosed structures which retain pollutants for a longer time. The fact that we spend maximum time indoors, which is packed with contaminants pollutants, only worsens the situation. Therefore, you need to implement effective ways to minimize air pollution indoors and increase air quality.