Our home may provide us protection, relief, and comfort, but four walls cannot shield us from every well-being threat. Our home can endanger our health more than an open environment because of indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is an alarming concern for health and wellness. It heightens the risk of acquiring and developing several health issues.
According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollutants are the leading cause of asthma, stroke, constructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, and other non-communicable health issues.
Household Air Pollution
As we spend most of our time in closed spaces, we have higher exposure to concentrated pollutants. Our four walls still preserve traces of hazardous and carcinogenic substances even after strict regulations and control measures on trade and movement of health-hazarding chemicals from paints, floor adhesives, furniture polishes, and plastic. It is no wonder why indoor air pollution is still a leading cause of mesothelioma and malignancies of the respiratory tract and lungs. It is strange how we cannot ensure our health, well-being, and safety in our abodes.
But do not feel disheartened already. Consider indoor pollutants and associated risks like other well-being challenges and enhance awareness. Knowledge and preventive measures can help ensure our homes are clean, non-hazardous, and pollution free, not just apparently but actually. It is not too late to take preemptive steps to minimize worse complications if indoor air pollution is a primary culprit for your health and well-being issues. Necessary and prompt responses to symptoms and prognosis can make a difference. Hence, do not lose hope. Enhance knowledge, explore treatment alternatives, and learn if you been misdiagnosed with a life-threatening health condition. This way, you can approach the right experts to fight and attain compensation for your wrongdoing.
The following sections discuss how indoor air pollution can affect health and well-being and what steps and precautions you must observe to minimize and prevent life-threatening consequences.
1. Prevent indoor smoking
Smoking is a notorious indoor air pollutant. Cigarettes release hundreds of chemicals in the atmosphere. Hence, direct or indirect exposure to smoking or smoking in a poorly ventilated space can promote life-threatening health issues, such as respiratory tract diseases, lung cancer, mesothelioma, or instant death in smokers and non-smokers alike. The recent trend of e-cigarettes is another potential risk of indoor air pollution. Aerosols and ultrafine particles from e-cigarettes can increase air toxicity like tobacco cigarettes. So, avoid smoking indoors and ensure a smoke-free environment. It is a non-negotiable preventive measure if you or your loved ones suffer from respiratory health issues.
2. Use safe cleaning products
We may find toilet cleaners, floor cleaners, antiseptic sprays, detergents, and other cleaning products useful. But these products are among the chief sources of introducing pollutants in our homes. Harmful chemicals from these products can jeopardize our well-being without even noticing. So, don’t rely on product names alone. Read descriptions and understand the chemical composition. Research what chemicals are harmful, and then find safe cleaning products. Prioritize credible cleaning brands than choosing cheaper products. Quality products are expensive, but the apparent cost difference is not worth the risks that unfold upon regular use.
3. Ensure proper ventilation indoors
As much as air filters and ventilators improve air quality, poor ventilation increases risks. Experts believe that our contact with pollutants is higher indoors than outdoors. And it is mainly because of poor ventilation. Poor ventilation slows fresh air exchange and facilitates the circulation of tiny particulates, aerosols, and gases. For instance, primitive methods for cooking are chief sources of these pollutants. Charcoal grills, gas stoves, kerosene heaters, and other combustible heating appliances use fossil fuels and release carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, sulfates, and other health-hazarding gases as a byproduct.
Since cooking and heating are essential for living, we cannot stop using stoves and heaters. But we can minimize the concentration of gases and pollutants inside our homes by augmenting indoor ventilation. So, install a few ventilation fans, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms, keep them on, and clean them occasionally.
4. Consider plantation outdoors for Air Pollution
The indoor plantation is refreshing, soothing, appealing, and presentable. But it is not recommended, as plants transpire and increase indoor humidity. Humidity increases air density and facilitates tiny pollutant particles to hang in the air. The chances of our contact with pollutants increase when we breathe in polluted air. We may also ingest chemicals when these particles settle down on surfaces and objects and come in contact with food supplies. Plants also provide a safe abode to insects and flies that carry germs and pathogens and can jeopardize health. Indoor use of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides to facilitate plant growth further pollutes the air and heightens risks for health problems. So, transfer all your plants and flower pots outdoors.
5. Use air fresheners cautiously
Our limited knowledge of purifying indoor air can pose more harm than improve indoor fragrance. Air fresheners can increase the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, benzene, xylenes, toluene, and ethylbenzene. VOCs have proven consequences for health, including skin and eye irritation, dizziness, respiratory issues, nausea, tremors, headaches, and rapid heart rate. Long-term exposure can affect heart health, kidney, and nervous system. Some VOCs are also carcinogenic.
In addition, VOCs react with almost all nitrogen oxides and create other hazardous byproduct gases, such as ground-level ozone. A higher concentration of ground-level ozone is related to several respiratory complications, including throat irritation, chest congestion, chest pain, and coughing. It can cause respiratory tract inflammation, hamper lung function, and leave irreparable scars in lung tissues. Hence, do not rely on air fresheners impulsively. Improve indoor air quality with better ventilation options than short-term solutions.
6. Test indoor air quality
If you have health concerns like breathing problems or irritation in the airways and doubt the indoor atmosphere is affecting your health, run an inspection. Testing indoor air quality is a professional approach to alleviate doubts and ensure safety. You can observe indoor air quality and identify potential pollutants with indoor air quality testing kits. You can find air quality monitoring kits sensitive to chemicals like carbon monoxide, radon, formaldehyde, nitrogen monoxide, lead, etc. Whenever these pollutants exceed a safe range, the testing kit will ring an alarm and notify of the percentage of the chemicals indoors. You can then recheck activities that increase these pollutants, observe precautions, and improve ventilation.
Indoor air pollution has multiple sources, and we cannot obliterate them. But some preventive measures and knowledge of the risks can work in our favor. Hence, improve knowledge, identify sources of pollutants, and make cleaner, greener, and eco-friendly choices while purchasing household items. And most importantly, do not overlook subtle signs and warnings of health issues and take preemptive steps against indoor air pollution.