Indoor air pollution is one of the world’s most difficult toxic pollution problems today. Why is it so prevalent and what simple ways can it be changed for the good of our health?
Indoor air pollution is the presence of particles, molecules, or other harmful materials in the environment that cause diseases, damage living organisms and eventual death to humans. Air pollution can come from substances created by people or caused by human activity and from natural sources. These impurities can be solid particles, liquid droplets, gases, or electromagnetic in origin. The impurities can be from a primary or secondary source. Examples of primary pollutants are produced from ash of volcanic eruption, carbon monoxide gas from motor vehicle exhaust, and sulfur dioxide that is released from factories. The secondary pollutants form in the air when primary pollutants react or interact. One example of a secondary pollutant is ground level ozone.
Many homes lack good indoor ventilation and then concentration of air pollution persists. People spend the majority of their time inside their homes. We have Radon gas that is exuded from the Earth in certain parts of our country and then it is trapped inside the house. We have created building materials such as carpeting and plywood that emit formaldehyde gas. Lead paint will degenerate into dust. The use of air fresheners, incense, and other scented items introduce air pollution. Wood fires in fireplaces and stoves will add smoke particulates into the air in significant amounts. Using pesticides and chemical sprays in closed environment without good ventilation pollutes the air. Faulty vents and chimneys produce carbon monoxide poisoning causing fatalities. Our clothing will emit tetrachloroethylene and other dry cleaning fluids after dry cleaning for many days.
There are biological sources of air pollution that are airborne particulates and gasses found in our homes. Pets will produce dander. People will produce dust from decomposed hair and minute skin flakes. There are dust mites in the bedding, furniture, and carpeting which produce very tiny decal droppings. Mold will form on walls which generates mycotoxins and spores. Our air conditioning systems can cause Legionnaires’ disease and mold. Houseplants, soil, and near gardens can produce dust, pollen, and mold. A lack of air circulation will allow the airborne pollutants to become greater in number than they would normally occur in nature.
There are a number of health conditions that pose a significant risk actor resulting from indoor air pollution which include respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, COPD, and lung cancer. People will experience difficulty with breathing, wheezing, coughing, asthma, and will worsen your existing respiratory and cardiac conditions. These health problems will result in the need to increase medication, more doctor visits or emergency room visits, more time in the hospital, and premature death.