Indoor air pollution can stem from a variety of causes, some of which may be surprising such as toiletries. Mainly, though, the quality of air indoors is the result of a push and pull between the ventilation system and pollutants found inside the house or building.
There are a lot of other contributing factors to indoor air pollution, and not many people are aware of just how dangerous such a condition at home can be. In fact, more than half of the deaths caused by exposure to air pollution can be attributed to indoor air pollution. Let’s take a look at its alarming effects.
Effects on Health
People spend a lot of their time indoors, and if the quality of air inside homes and office buildings is not good, it could have negative effects on health. Repeated exposure to indoor pollutants can lead to both immediate and long-term health concerns, particularly respiratory problems such as asthma. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2012 that 4.3 million people a year die prematurely from sickness and health problems that are attributable to household air pollution.
Effects on the Environment
In the poorest areas around the world, indoor air pollution is a silent but deadly tyrant. Largely generated by inefficient and poorly ventilated stoves that burn wood and other biomass fuels, it not only is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people a year, it also adds to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere which contributes to climate change. Furthermore, the continued use of biomass fuels exacerbates deforestation, which, in turn, can lead to loss of biodiversity and soil erosion among others.
Preventing Indoor Air Pollution
With the many dangers that indoor air pollution poses, it is imperative for everyone to find ways to minimize or completely obliterate harmful pollutants in the home. One way of doing this is by simply improving ventilation in the home. Using high quality air filters and changing them regularly ensures that the air you breathe indoors is clean and healthy.
Changing from solid fuels to cleaner technologies is another way. This not only greatly reduces indoor air pollution; it also minimizes environmental impacts of energy consumption as well as production in general.
Increasing public awareness of the effects that indoor air pollution has on both human health and the environment is a vital factor for change.
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