Indoor Air Pollution: side effects and how to improve

Indoor Air Pollution

In today’s world, air pollution is one of the biggest concerns. Whatever our living standard and whatever healthy strategy we use to live a healthy life but if the air quality of our surroundings is poor then it will definitely affect our health directly and indirectly in long term as well as in short term.

Air pollution is mainly divided into outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution. The U.S. Environmental protection agency ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top five threats to public health (1).

Three major side effects of indoor air pollution

1. Sick Building Syndrome

According to WHO sick building syndrome is a reaction to an indoor environment like excessive exposure to a known contaminant or a defective ventilation system. Sick building syndrome includes irritation of eyes and mucous membrane, fatigue, chest tightness, cough, headache, and malaise (2).

2. Nervous disorder

House dust and burning lead paints inside the house cause nervous disorder and growth retardation if exposed for a long time (3).

3. Asthma

House dust, poor air conditioner, humidifier and dehumidifier, endotoxins, and fungal microbes of indoor cause respiratory diseases like asthma, coughing, allergies, eye nose irritation, fever, etc. (3).

Five effective ways to improve indoor air quality: 

1. Increase ventilation

Increase ventilation or air exchange from outside helps in less accumulation of toxic gases inside the house. Increased air and light inside the house are also effective in stopping many bacterial and other microbial growth by increasing the humidity condition of the area.

2. Exhaust fan

Exhaust fan in the bathroom and in the kitchen is also helpful in stopping indoor air pollution(3).

3. HEPA Filter or air purifier

HEPA filters or air purifiers are one of the finest choices in today’s world. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters help in purifying the air and lowers down the PM 2.5 accumulation in the room, it also absorbs microbes and certain bacteria and viruses thus provides clean and healthy air (3).

4. Formaldehyde-free or low formaldehyde emission furniture

Using wooden furniture which is formaldehyde-free or has low formaldehyde emission helps in the reduction of indoor pollution (3). Formaldehyde is readily absorbed via respiration and causes sensory irritation especially eyes and upper respiratory tract (4).

5. Air purifying plants

Plants not only add aesthetic and biological comfort to the indoor environment but also it is helpful in purifying certain harmful gases and decrease indoor air pollution. Some of the air purifying plants are

a. Areca palm

b. Bamboo palm

c. Peace lily

d. Boston fern

e. Poinsettia

f. Snake plant

g. Spider plant

h. Anthurium

i. Rubber plant

j. Lemon balm

k. Golden Pothos

l. Syngonium

m. Lady palm

n. English Ivy


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