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Indoor Particulate Matter: A Complete Overview

Indoor particulate matter poses immense health risks. It might hide any place in your home. This article will provide information about its prevention methods.

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Indoor particulate matter (IPM) is a complex combination of suspended particles. These atoms are diverse in size, shape, and content. Furthermore, they are omnipresent in all types of indoor surroundings.

IPM emissions surpass both outdoor particulate matter levels and the NAAQS. Given the severity of its effects, it is crucial to strengthen your self-protection. Our article will present an in-depth overview of this dangerous substance. 

What Is Indoor Particulate Matter?

Its viscosity is seven times lesser than a single strand of human hair
Its viscosity is seven times lesser than a single strand of human hair

Indoor particulate matter (IPM) refers to a small and inhalable particle. We could say that its viscosity is seven times lesser than a single strand of human hair. That is still quite generous compared to ultrafine particles. These special atoms are even 600 times smaller.

As per the WHO, airborne particulate matter may harm the systematic bloodstream. These solids would wreak havoc on the vascular and other vital organ systems.

Worse, overexposure to IPM increases the chance of respiratory infection. Heightened pm2.5 indoor levels cause around 130000 premature deaths per year. 

Where Does IPM Come From?

The EPA lists eleven typical causes
The EPA lists eleven typical causes

Many people inquire about what indoor air pollutants release particulate matter. The EPA lists eleven typical causes of air pollution indoors. These contaminants would inflict a deathly impact on household inhabitants. Their names are as follows:

Biological Pollutants

Biological pollutants are substances created by living organisms. As a result, they are often seen in regions with abundant food or dampness. Examples include viruses, bacteria, dust, saliva/pet dander, pollen, and mites.

These particles frequent themselves in buildings near high moisture areas. The condensation in vaporizers serves as a breeding site for mildew and mold. 

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an unscented gas produced via fossil fuel combustion. Oil lamps and gas burners are the primary sources of indoor CO. 

This pollutant may be dangerous to humans when ingested in significant volumes. They have a direct impact on the oxygen-transferring function of the blood. CO lowers the oxygen levels carried to vital organs through circulation.

Serious CO poisoning results in dizziness, coma, and even death. In typical conditions, elevated outdoor CO levels are a rare sight. Hence, CO is a hazard mostly to confined indoor areas with inadequate ventilation. 

Heaters and Cookers

Heaters are a source of IPM
Heaters are a source of IPM

Heaters or cookers using firewood or charcoal may lead to low-quality indoor air. While these items are not as prevalent in the US, they are utilized by billions of families worldwide. When paired with deficient ventilation, their fumes can cause serious pulmonary problems. 


Formaldehyde is quite popular in construction materials and home items. It often operates in adhesives, wood resins, insecticides, cosmetic preservatives, and paints. These particles result from combustion in fuel-burning equipment. 

Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can cause cancer. Meanwhile, short-term contact irritates your eyes, skin, nose, and throat. 

Lead (Pb)

Lead emissions enter the atmosphere in several ways. The most prevalent source is metal processing and leaded gasoline combustion. 

This substance may build throughout the body after inhalation. In adults, severe Lead poisoning destroys the neurological, circulatory, and reproductive systems. Worse, it even results in learning or behavioral difficulties for youngsters. 

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

Nitrogen Dioxide (or NO2) is a highly reactive gas. It emits from burned fuel, most common in automobiles, lorries, and power plants. When joined by moisture in the air in high concentrations, NO2 may generate acid rain.

The NO2 could be extremely detrimental to those with underlying respiratory disorders. It induces coughing, wheezing, and breathing troubles. More alarmingly, serious lung diseases can be caused by prolonged exposure.


Pesticides are used to control pests, insects, rodents, and microbes. Since they contain disinfectants and insecticides, pesticides are intrinsically dangerous.

Exposure to pesticides may have a range of short and long-term consequences. These hazards include eyes, skin, throat, and nose irritation. More difficult cases lead to elevated lung cancer risk and nervous system destruction. 

Radon (Rn)

Radon is a radioactive gas of natural occurrence. Due to its lack of odor and color, Radon is tough to identify without air particulate testing

Since it gathers in tiny concentrations, Radon is not dangerous outdoors. Most exposure occurs indoors as the fractures and holes trap the gas inside.

Protracted Radon exposure may raise the possibility of lung cancer. In the United States, it ranks second as the most common source for this lethal disease. To reduce Radon levels, one can improve house ventilation of air shift velocity.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is produced from burned tobacco products. The term “passive smoking” refers to the act of inhaling secondhand smoke. 

It is classified as a Group A hazard due to over 7000 contained chemicals. They may contribute significantly to heart attacks, respiratory problems, and breathing issues. 

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are gaseous chemicals from solids and liquids. They settle in various popular home items, including paints, varnishes, and air fresheners. These substances pose both short and long-term impacts. 

Health consequences might be nose, eyes, and throat scratches. In some cases, liver and central nervous systems damages are also involved.

Wood Smokes

Smoke is a complicated combination of gases and small IPM particles. It is usually released during wood combustion. Despite the potential danger, many people are persistent in using it for cuisine. 

Though their benefits are limitless, wood items also emit dangerous smoke. To mitigate health concerns, you should opt for more updated technology instead. 

Health Risks of IPM

Health Risks of IPM
Many breakdowns have shown a clear correlation between particle sizes and health concerns

The summary of common contaminants above should provide an overview of IPM’s impacts. Each pollutant has a distinct set of repercussions. 

However, in general, IPM exposure has a detrimental effect on your internal organs. Many breakdowns have shown a clear correlation between particle sizes and health concerns. Small atoms (below ten micrometers) may even enter the bloodstream.

Those with heart or lung disorders would be at an increased risk from IPM contact. Children and elders are not safe either.

Furthermore, scientific research has also connected IPM to other adverse health effects. They might involve voice damage, respiratory symptoms, and premature deaths.

Hence, you need to tackle indoor air quality standards particulate matter. The next section will discuss how to maintain pm 2.5 safe levels indoors and avoid health risks. 

Tips for IPM reduction

An air purifier may help decrease contaminants
An air purifier may help decrease contaminants

Staying below the indoor pm2 5 standard would decrease IPM exposure. These tactics below might be of immense help:

Open a Window

Adequate ventilation is critical for maintaining indoor pm2 5 airflow. Opening a window (when the temperature is not too low, of course) would be a simple approach to solve the dilemma.

Prohibit Smoking

“No smoke allowed at all,” advised the American Lung Association. As per the EPA, secondhand smoke wreaks the pulmonary organs. It is the cause of around 3000 nonsmoker deaths each year.

Bathe Your Pets

If pets are in your house, bath them often and cleanse their bedding. These tactics would cut allergen-producing dander. And – as much as we hate to tell you this – you must not take them to your bed at night.

Alternate Filters

If you have an AC, it is important to replace the ventilation systems. Keep a consistent schedule for this task.

Bypass Fires

While dancing flames in a fireplace are visually appealing, they spew ash and soot into the air. A more modern heating system would be ideal.

Avoid Masking Odors

Do not turn to air citronella candles, perfumes, or other odor masking aromas. These may aggravate asthma.

Vacuum Often

This method is particularly important for pet owners. Brooms are not recommended since they would stir up extra dust.

Avoid Excessive Carpeting

Carpets easily capture pollutants such as dust, animal dander, and fungal spores. Instead, opt for a hard-surfaced floor.

Maintain a Dry Environment

Low moisture levels would prevent mold growth. You can obtain this via dehumidifier and frequent filter cleansing.

Keep a Secure Storage Facility for Chemicals

Solvents, glues, and insecticides should be far away from your dwellings. Also, make use of homemade cleaning agents wherever possible.

Use a Purifier

An air purifier by itself will not kill off all contaminants from your home air. Yet, it might help decrease them to a considerable extent. 

For those worrying about asthmatic children, you can relax. Purifiers would not harm these kids and might even be beneficial.


Indoor particulate matter is not something that one can treat lightly. Despite the small stature, IPM poses serious threats.

This article offers critical information about these harmful atoms. Sure, it may be difficult to wipe them out completely. Nevertheless, our tips could lessen their frequency and place you and your family in a safer position.


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