Indoor air pollutants sources and its harmful effects

indoor air pollutants


Air pollutants are two types of outdoor air pollutants and indoor air pollutants. Outdoor air pollutants are caused mainly because of automobiles, industrial emissions, other man-made, and natural activities. Indoor air pollutants are caused mainly because of poor ventilation, paints, cooking and heating appliances, automobile oils, garage, other types of cosmetics, and other chemicals. There are seven major types of indoor air pollutants which we are still not aware of and continue to live in the presence of these harmful pollutants.

7 Major indoor pollutants, sources, and their harmful effects

1. Xylene

According to the Department of health and human service U.S.A., xylene is produced from a petroleum product. Typically indoor air has xylene 1-10 ppb. Buildings with poor ventilation have a higher indoor level of xylene. Other sources of xylene are paints and wooden furniture (1).

2. Acetone

Acetone is one of the very common indoor air pollutants. The main source of acetone pollution is petroleum and diesel products, nail polish, liquid or paste waxes, detergents or cleansers, and adhesives, etc (2).

3. Toluene

The major source of toluene pollution is gasoline, solvents in paints, plastic and soda bottles, paint cosmetics, and other organic chemicals. Exposure to pollutant toluene causes central nervous system dysfunction and necrosis. Children exposed to these harmful pollutants also suffer developmental problems and reproductive problems in females. Irritation of upper respiratory tract and eyes (3).

4. Benzene

According to WHO major sources of benzene are automobiles from the attached garage, heating and cooking systems, solvents. Exposure to benzene causes nausea, headache, and vomiting and also has low but non-negligible carcinogenic risk. Source of benzene are tools and attached garages, gas and charcoal cooking, solvents, etc (4) (5).

5. Formaldehyde

According to WHO studies Indoor wooden furniture with formaldehyde resin paints are the main source of formaldehyde pollution. Smoking, heating, cooking, candle and incense burning, cosmetics, paints, wallpapers, etc are the other source of formaldehyde pollutants (6).

6. Trichloroethylene

Detergents and showering products are the major source of trichloroethylene production in an indoor environment. Trichloroethylene exposure causes central nervous system disorders, kidney and liver disorders, skin allergy, and skin irritation (7).

7. Ozone

Ozone (O3) is one of the powerful oxidant found in our atmosphere. Indoor ozone concentration increases due to the use of a copy machine, laser printer, ultraviolet lightning, and air purification system. Ozone toxicity in humans is mainly caused by direct inhalation. Exposure to ozone also results in pulmonary edema, hemorrhage, inflammation, and extensive lesions on the lung tissue, trachea, and upper bronchi. Other sources of indoor ozone emission are softwoods, paints, cleaning products, etc (8).


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