Indoor Air Pollution
‘Indoor air’ is air within a building such as your home, classroom, office, shopping center, hospital or gym. We say ‘Indoor Air Pollution’ if indoor air is contaminated by smoke, chemicals, smells or particles.
Unlike outdoor air pollution, the effect of indoor air pollution is health related and less of an environmental issue. In colder regions, building and heating methods make use of airtight spaces, less ventilation and energy efficient heating. Sometimes synthetic building materials, smells from household care and furnishing chemicals can all be trapped indoors. As less fresh air gets indoors, the concentration of pollutants such as pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, pesticides, radon, asbestos and carbon monoxide trapped inside the building increases and people breathe that in.
Did you know:
Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and leaky stoves, and burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.
Nearly 2 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use.
Nearly 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under five are due to particulate matter inhaled from indoor air pollution.
More than 1 million people a year die from chronic obstructive respiratory disease (COPD) that develop due to exposure to such indoor air pollution.
Both women and men exposed to heavy indoor smoke are 2-3 times more likely to develop COPD
Source: WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/
Common indoor air pollutants include:
This is smoke burning cigarettes or exhaled smoke by people smoking.
These include allergens such as pollen from plants, hair from pets, fungi and some bacteria.
This is a gas that is naturally emitted from the ground. Radon can be trapped in basements of building and homes. The gas is known to cause cancer after exposure over a period.
This is a poisonous gas with no color or smell. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal or wood do not burn fully.