The Air Inside: Why Staying Indoors Isn't Always Safe!
In this week’s poll on LinkedIn, we asked people whether staying indoors implies lesser exposure to air pollution. Surprisingly, 58% of the respondents got it right, while a significant section of the respondents, 40%, thought it was safe to stay indoors.
It's quite understandable that many people might assume that staying indoors means less exposure to air pollution. However, this is not always the case. Indoor air pollution can be just as harmful, if not more so, than outdoor air pollution.
What are the major sources responsible for harmful emissions indoors?
Indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources, some of which are less obvious than others. Let’s understand what are the major sources responsible for indoor air pollution:
- Tobacco smoke can release pollutants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and particulate matter.
- Combustion appliances such as gas stoves, heaters, cooking odour etc. release carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
- Household cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to indoor air pollution.
- Building materials such as paints, adhesives, and carpets, can release pollutants into the air.
- Moisture problems in homes can lead to the growth of mould and mildew, which can release spores and other allergens into the air.
But, what are the effects of exposure to these pollutants on our health?
Indoor air pollution can cause a range of health problems:
Respiratory problems: Indoor air pollution can cause a range of respiratory problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer.
Cardiovascular disease: prolonged exposure to indoor air pollution can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and stroke.
Headaches and dizziness: high levels of indoor air pollution can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
Allergies and asthma: Indoor air pollution can exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms, leading to breathing difficulties and other respiratory problems.
Cognitive impairment: Some studies have shown that exposure to indoor air pollution can affect cognitive function and increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Cancer: Long-term exposure to indoor air pollution, such as radon gas, seeping into homes and buildings through small cracks or holes and build up in the air increasing the risk of lung cancer.
So, how can we prevent and reduce exposure to indoor air pollution?
Here are a few measures that you can take:
Keep your home clean: Regular cleaning of your home can help reduce indoor air pollution. Dusting and vacuuming can help remove dust, dirt, and other pollutants from your home.
Proper ventilation: Proper ventilation can help reduce the levels of indoor air pollutants. It's essential to keep your home well-ventilated by opening windows and doors regularly and using exhaust fans.
Use natural cleaning products: Chemical cleaning products can emit harmful pollutants into the air. Using natural cleaning products can help reduce the levels of indoor air pollution.
Invest in an air purifier: An air purifier can help remove pollutants from the air, such as dust, pollen, and other allergens.
Though many of you got it right, the rest of you are not wrong either. It's common to assume that staying indoors means less exposure to air pollution, but the truth is that indoor air pollution can be just as harmful as outdoor air pollution, if not more so. It's essential to take measures to prevent and reduce exposure to indoor air pollution. We can improve the air quality in our home and protect ourselves and our family from the harmful effects of indoor air pollution. Let’s commit to make clean air a priority in our lives!