When we think about pollution, we generally think in terms of outdoor air pollution. However, we spend many hours each day indoors, be it at home or in our work place. Yes, air pollution isn’t only an outdoor issue. The air indoors, at our home and in our workplace can also be polluted and we can suffer because of it. Indoor air pollution can and does affect the quality of our life. In fact, levels of some types of air pollution can be higher indoors than outdoors. On average, people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, so the quality of indoor air is very important to ones wellbeing and health. We need to breathe whether it is indoors or outdoors so we have to make the air we live in as pollution free as possible.
Air Pollution at our work place and the indoor air quality is an important health issue and demands our attention. Complaints abound related to indoor air quality due to more tightly sealed buildings, energy conservation measures, designed to re-circulate air within the building, which reduces the amount of outside air supply, that is allowed to come indoors. Adding to this problem is the use of synthetic and chemical materials used within the workplace environment, such as the modern office equipment, comprising photocopiers, laser printers and computers. Offices use plenty of cleaning products that can give out vapors that add to this pollution problem and to indoor air contamination.
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Home- Indoor Air Pollution A very harmful contaminant of indoor air is cigarette tobacco smoke. Then there is mold, mildew and dampness caused by condensation problems, improperly maintained combustion equipment, gasses from chemicals, dust mites and their by-products that lead to indoor pollution and cause a number of health related problems.
Mold is a common problem in a home and this brings about the release of mold spores, toxins, and moldy odors which lead to allergy and asthma reactions. Chemicals used in our house cleaning can release harmful vapors and synthetic fabrics, furnishings and other household products also bring about unseen contaminants. We have also increased the use of candles which is a source of indoor air pollutants. We must ensure that we maintain properly vented combustion devices, such as wood stoves, fireplaces,gas or propane cooking stoves, furnaces, water heaters etc. to enjoy a living space that is free from indoor pollution. Health Hazards Due To Indoor air pollution The health symptoms usually attributed to indoor air quality problems include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, cough, sneezing, skin irritation, dizziness, nausea, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Some individuals may be particularly susceptible to the effects of indoor air contaminants such as those people with existing allergies or asthma, people with respiratory disease, people whose immune systems are suppressed due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, disease, and those that wear contact lenses.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Indoor Air Pollution Avoid smoking while inside the home:
1) Keep door and windows open whenever possible to ensure fresh air flow and air exchange which will help control humidity and eliminate gaseous chemicals which may be present indoors.
2) Fix any water damage from leaks, infiltration, or flood. Clean any mold and keep the place dry and moisture free.
3) Avoid excessive humidity (not more than 50% RH (relative humidity) in summer and 30% in winter)
4) Combustion devices such as a furnace, water heater, gas stove or fireplace should be inspected by a specialist at regular intervals and must be well vented.
5) Chemical such as varnish, paint, cleaning products should be used according to the manufacturers recommendations and heed any warnings on the product labels and used with proper ventilation to reduce exposure to fumes or vapors.
About the author:
Julian Pereira Enjoys Research pertaining to health issues. He owns an informative website which can be viewed at: www.allergy-mattress-cover.com