Indoor air pollution, i.e., contamination of air within the house or building can be five times or worse than outdoor air pollution. From everyday consumer products and household habits such as paints, pet allergens to cooking gas can be an additional source of air pollution. So, what now and how do we shield ourselves?
‘Indoor air pollution can be five times or worse than outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is the contamination of air within the house or building mainly by smoke, chemicals, smells or particles.’Bornali Dutta, Associate Director Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Medanta - The Medicity, said: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) global air pollution database released in Geneva, India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations. It said 7 million people die every year because of outdoor and household air pollution. Reports like these suggest that the impact of pollution on human health is fatal. Air pollution has an impact on most of the organs and systems of human body. The lung is one of the major sites of interaction with environmental particulates that causes and aggravates many respiratory diseases like COPD, asthma, and lung cancer.
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"Air pollutants like particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and lead (Pb) can affect the lung in numerous ways like inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell cycle death. They have been shown to trigger acute episodes in asthma and COPD, other allergic airway diseases, strongly associated with lung cancer."
Arvind Chabra, Country Head, Blueair suggests some tips which will help us avoid indoor air pollution:
- Say no to scented incense sticks and candles: After reading this you might think twice before lighting up those decorative candles or using agarbattis. Studies suggest incense sticks and scented candles release undesired chemicals that can cause serious health problems like skin allergies and even heightens the risk of respiratory cancer
- Say yes to some greenery: Yes! Plants are your best friends. They provide fresh oxygen to our lungs and planting a few indoor plants in your home with help you breathe clean, and of course it gives that extra punch to your indoor décor. So, go ahead, buy some beautiful indoor plants and give your house a chic look.
- Remove carpeting if possible: Those aesthetic carpets and rugs can actually be a source of indoor air pollution. Carpets can capture a lot of pollutants such as small dust particles, food which falls on the floor, pet hair, dust mites, pesticides, cockroach allergens and other dirt. These pollutants may become airborne while vacuuming or during renovations. Children are more exposed to these pollutants are they tend to play on the carpet.
- Indoor smoking is deadly: Avoid smoking Indoor. It affects not only the smoker but also people around them. While we are all aware about the harmful effects of smoking, it is deadlier indoor. Since there is no space for the smoke to go out so you tend to inhale the same air repeatedly, harming your nostrils and lungs.
- Ensure good ventilation: Proper ventilation in your house will prevents air pollutants from affecting you and your family's health. Not only that, having a proper flow of air inside your home can help you get rid of all the unwanted smells arising from cooking or from carpets. Also, allergens such as dusts, pollen, and other irritants which tends to get trapped inside your house can be removed to a large extent if there is a proper ventilation.
- Give away your plastic habits: Plastics are a major cause of air pollution. The by-products of plastics called microplastics are small pieces of plastic between the size of 0.1 micron to 5mm in diameter. These microplastics are immensely harmful to our health. Shockingly microplastics have found its way to our homes also. Their contributors can be simple things like erosion of synthetic carpets, synthetic clothing or cosmetics. Hence it is advisable to use less plastics products at home and switch to a sustainable way of life.
- Get an air purifier: Air purifiers are the best way to clean the indoor air. In addition to investing in your health it can prevent microplastics, allergies and impure air from harming you and your dear ones.