Exposure to various air pollutants is higher indoors due to the amount of time we spend inside our homes. This just makes it harder for us to ignore the effects of air pollution, and compels us to develop efficient strategies to reduce exposure and health risks.
In India, along with population explosion, urbanisation and growing industrialisation has resulted in dense urban centres with poor air quality. However, before you decide to not go out and instead sit at home, you need to get rid of this delusion that pollution stops outside your door.
Following are some unavoidable causes of indoor air pollution that harm us in equal measure:
The most significant concern for indoor air quality is exposure to pollutants released during combustion of solid fuels or coal used for cooking and heating. Worldwide, more than 3 billion people rely on biomass fuels for their domestic energy needs. Even the burning of natural gas such as LPG produces sulfur oxides and mercury compounds that lead to the production of nitrogen oxides.
Smoking Up the House
Smoking tobacco is another major source of household air pollution. Globally, there are approximately 1.1 billion smokers, a number that is steadily on the rise. Cigarette smoke contains 7,357 different chemical compounds such as benzene, CO, PAHs, heterocyclic amines, cyanide, formaldehyde, terpenoids, phenols, nicotine, and heavy metals. It’s safe to say that it is not safe at all.
Too Hot, Too Cold
Using ACs and preventing the temperature-controlled air from escaping the closed environment leads to poor ventilation, causing accumulation of the particulate matter pollutants inside the house. Furthermore, inadequately cleaned air conditioning units are a breeding grounds for various fungi and bacteria.
Insecticides Killing You Instead
In a country where mosquito-borne diseases are common, it is natural to turn towards pest control with harsher chemicals that can stay in our surroundings for months. Approximately 2 billion people across the globe use mosquito coils to ward off insects. Studies have shown that the burning of one such coil emits particulate matter equivalent to burning 100 cigarettes and PAH equivalent to burning 50 cigarettes.
Buy an air purifier and you wouldn’t have to worry about indoor air pollution anymore.