Indoor Air Pollution: ‘A Silent Killer’.Time To Wake Up & Fight

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Indoor Air Pollution

When it comes to air pollution, we probably think of things like smog, emissions from cars and trucks. But has anyone ever thought about the hefty air pollution that prevails inside our homes.  Yes, our homes and offices are jam-packed with dust and particulate matter which is the cause of many serious health disorders. Indoor air pollution is more dangerous than outdoor air pollution because indoor air is far more concentrated with pollutants than outdoor air. The reason being- the movement of particulate matter in the presence of sunlight fastens than that of air inside. The indoor’s air containing particulate matter doesn't easily passes from here to there and stays stalked at a place.

The air in our homes, schools and offices can be 2 to 5 times more polluted, and in some cases 100 times more polluted, than outdoor air.

Indoor air pollution is one of the most serious environmental threats to the health, yet most of the people are unaware of it. Poor air quality of home can give birth to innumerable diseases including:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Eye and skin irritations
  • Sore throats
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and migraine
  • Lung cancer
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hypersensitivity and allergies
  • Sinus congestion
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

What causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Our homes and workplaces are chock full of various hazards which escalate pollutants recklessly. Some significant sources of indoor pollution are:

  • Burning of Incense Stick and Dhoop
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Paints
  • Carpets
  • The kitchen stove
  • Furniture
  • Curtains
  • Cleaning products
  • Perfumes
  • Ozone– from photocopiers and electric motors

Few things from the above list can be discouraged to prevent indoor air pollution. But things like furniture, kitchen stoves and curtains are compulsorily needed and therefore, we can’t stop using them.

Thus, we have to find their substitutes or should search for options that can actually prevent or reduce indoor air pollution.

Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Pollution Absorbent Indoor Plants- Boon to Mankind

There are several plants that can be grown inside your home and can absorb air pollution to the great extend. So keep the following plants in your home that can engulf the pollutants before the pollutants engulf your heath:

  • Spider Plant

It is one of the easiest house plants to grow. It removes pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene. Formaldehyde causes coughing, wheezing, chest pains, and bronchitis whereas xylene is responsible for headache, dizziness, vomiting and nausea. It requires indirect sunlight so can be kept near windows.

  • Peace Lily

When it comes to indoor plants, peace lily is the easiest to care for. It removes pollutants such as ammonia, benzene and trichloroethylene. Ammonia is extremely dangerous and causes cataracts, corneal damage, kidney and liver damage. The plant doesn't need much water.  It blooms fragrant flowers throughout summer and grows best in shady areas.

  • Snake Plant

This is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. It has immense power to diminish pollutants from air. It generally prefers drier conditions and some sun.

  • Ficus/ Weeping Fig

This plant can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture. It loves bright but indirect sunlight. It is particularly good at filtering formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

  • Garden Mums

It is the most beautiful plant and is an air-purifying champion, eliminating several pollutants from indoor air such as ethoxylated nonyl phenol, turpentine and monoethanolamine.

Dracaena, Boston Fern and Bamboo Palm are such plants that can clean the indoor's air and make it fit for breathing.

Other Measures

Apart from planting the above plants, also adopt the following measures to prevent indoor air pollution which have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to your health:

  • Keep a Healthy Level of Humidity

Keeping humidity around 30%-50% helps to keep allergens under control.  Make use of an exhaust fan or open the window while cooking or bathing. Further, don’t over water houseplants and dry the clothes outside.

  • Make your House 'No Smoking Zone'

The most blaming aspects of indoor air pollution are cigarette smoking, or burning of incense stick and dhoop. They increase risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome, cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.

  •  Keep your Floors Clean

Mopping picks up the dust that capture lingering dust or allergens. Microfiber mops and dusting cloths capture more dust and dirt than traditional fibers. So neat and clean floor is probably the first step to kill microbes and allergens.

  •  Discourage Carpets & Encourage Door Mats

Put a floor mat at every door. People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their foot wears. A door mat reduces the amount of dirt and other pollutants from getting into your home. They help tap the pollutants, hence, reduces indoor air pollution.

  • Use Natural Fragrance

Everyone likes scents and air fresheners but these artificial fragrances can kill you. These synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit tons of harmful chemicals into the air. Thus, try to use perfume-free detergents, soaps and fabric softeners. Rather, use flowers like rose and jasmine to add fragrance to your clothes and rooms.

  •  Use HEPA Filters

High-efficiency particulate air filter is efficient at removing airborne irritants without posing any ozone concerns. It is able to remove 99.97 percent of all particles as small as 0.3 microns.

  • Ensure Proper Ventilation

There should be proper ventilation system in home like windowpanes and exhaust fans so that air can flow freely. This  helps remove contaminants by exchanging stale, re-circulated indoor air with fresh, filtered outside air.

  • Use Lead-Free Paints

Paints only beautify walls not your health because they contain lead- major cause of brain damage. The best option is to use lead free paints as they contain less chemicals and toxins.

Hence, indoor air pollution is the most serious issue and this is the alarming stage when you have to realize its effects and implement all the necessary measures to safeguard yourself from this silent killer.

Feature image source: allsciencesites.com 

This blog of first published on 6th Dec 2015

  • Nawang Chugh

    Great one Ruchika 🙂 You always provide valuable information…