How many times have you heard people talking about indoor air pollution? When we think about air pollution, we think about smog and car emissions. To be particular, that’s outdoor air pollution. While most of us are aware of the consequences of outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution has been ignored by many. We don’t tend to talk about it because we believe the house we live in is clean and safe. We believe where we live is free from pollution because we are not in contact with the smoke, dust, particulate matter, aerosols but we don’t realize the ‘high-quality’ products we use for cleaning in our house are the major source of indoor pollution. Lack of awareness is why people don’t consider talking about it.
Over the past several years, the Environmental Protection Agency has consistently ranked indoor air pollution as one of the top 5 concerning environmental dangers we all face daily. According to the World Health Organization, of the total 7 million worldwide deaths per year from air pollution, over half are said to have been caused by indoor air pollution. Other facts include:
Death rates from air pollution are highest in low-income countries. In low-income countries, it accounts for 6% of deaths.
The quality of indoor air can be up to 100x more polluted than outside air.
NHAPS database provides information that humans spend 90% of their time indoors.
Observing these facts, it’s scary how we are concerned only about the outdoor air where the air inside our homes is actually more dangerous. Toxic products, inadequate ventilation, high temperature, and humidity are the primary causes of indoor air pollution in our homes. Some of the leading chemicals that have a high influence on indoor air pollution happen to be:
Asbestos - found in coatings, paints, building materials, and ceiling and floor tiles.
Formaldehyde - found in paints, sealants, and wood floors.
Radon - found underneath your home in various types of bedrock and other building materials, also found in walls of your home.
Tobacco smoke - that comes from outdoor and indoor areas can also be an indoor air pollutant.
Stoves, space heaters, and fireplaces - all put out carbon monoxide as well as nitrogen dioxide.
Secondhand smoke - contains more than 200 different types of poisons, including formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. It also includes at least 60 chemicals known to cause cancer.
Now, you know all the causes and the facts relating to indoor air pollution. You might be wondering about the solution to this menace. One of the best solutions is indoor plants. There are a variety of indoor plants that act as natural air purifiers. Not only are they cheaper than artificial air purifiers but you get the feeling of closeness to nature indoors. I will be writing about various indoor plants and their health benefits in upcoming articles. So, do stick around to know more.