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What Indoor Air Pollutants Release Particulate Matter?

Environment quality has been a human concern for decades. One of the big questions is: What indoor air pollutants release particulate matter? The answer is here!

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If you keep wondering: What indoor air pollutants release particulate matter? yet unconfident about your research, below is everything you need. 

It’s worse if your house, workplace, or any indoor space is full of pollutants producing particulate matter. How seriously can they affect us, and how to handle this issue altogether? 

Particulate matter (PM) is not a single pollutant but rather a multi-chemical blend. All decrease the indoor air quality significantly, yet, its composition may vary. 

Take a peek at our post to learn more!

Indoor Air Pollutants
Indoor Air Pollutants

What Indoor Air Pollutants Release Particulate Matter?

Indoor air pollution is a more pressing concern nowadays. It refers to any air contamination within a building. 

More and more fuel-burning appliances and constructions turn up, causing indoor air pollution. 

Of note, these properties tend to be pretty airtight, causing the stagnant air inside and pollutant rise. 

These toxins will cause serious harm to all family members if not properly ventilated. Above all, pollutants releasing particulate matter are alarming actually.

Below are some pollutants’ main sources: 

#1 Excess Moisture

This sounds innocuous, but it’s more harmful than you assume. The settling moisture on a surface will push the dust mites and mildew accumulation. 

They trigger allergic reactions like asthma and even make you feel low. 

Moreover, basement leaking when it rains boost the inner moisture, causing many health issues. 

To this end, a dehumidifier is a solution somewhat addressing the hassle. 

#2 Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gasses harming human health in many ways (both short-term and long-term). 

Of note, their concentration is higher indoors than outdoors. VOCs mainly come from household products like aerosol sprays, paints, pesticides, disinfectants, etc. 

Anyone exposed to VOCs will suffer from nose and eyes irritation, nausea, headaches, liver, and kidney damage. 

To keep yourself safe, always follow suit with the directions.

#3 Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide

It’s an odorless gas created from the fuels’ combustion. Its effects include dizziness, nausea, headaches, fast heart rate, and a drop in oxygen level. 

In some extreme cases, it’s even a fatal factor. 

Keeping yourself safe from CO is meant to ensure well ventilated. Beyond that, installing electrical appliances properly is recommended.  

#4 Radon

No one can either see or smell radon. Yet it can end up with lung cancer. 

To measure the radon levels inside your house, you might employ a screening kit. 

In this case, a qualified professional expert can help you improve the indoor air quality and comfort. Typically, such experts take charge of repairs, maintenance, and installations as well.

#5 Particles (PM2.5 and PM10)

The majority of particulate matter indoors is from outdoors, notably PM2.5. They enter your house through windows, doors, and ”leakiness” in building structures. 

Their components are mostly biological sources, such as pollens, mold spores, dust mites, allergens, and cockroaches. 

#6 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

PAHs derive from wood burning, charcoal grills, self-cleaning ovens, house dust, polluted outdoor air, incense burning, and tobacco smoke, to name a few.

It’s the culprit behind skin cancer, nose, throat, eye irritation, and lung, skin,  stomach, and bladder cancer. 

#7 Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

Overall, NO2 is a colorless and tasteless gas. It’s produced from gas appliances, wood-burning, kerosene heaters, charcoal, motor vehicles, grills, malfunctioning, etc.

Once exposed to NO2, people often get lung damage and respiratory infections. 

#8 Tobacco Smoke

Nitrogen Dioxide
Nitrogen Dioxide

No wonder smoking is known for its toxic impact. It harms both smokers and passive smokers due to its dangerous copious amounts. 

From a health perspective to indoor air quality, few activities rival smoking in detrimental consequences.

#9 Dust (Airborne Soil, Also Called Crustal Material)

Dust is a mixture of both organic and inorganic materials: dead skin, hair, pet dander, pollen, to name a few. 

Dust allergies aren’t an odd term. It has ways to penetrate our lungs and harm them. Accordingly, always use a mask while dusting your house! You won’t breathe in any pollutants this way. 

How Does Indoor Air Pollution Affect Human Health?

How Does Indoor Air Pollution Affect Human Health

Indoor air pollution with particulate matter is threatening at large. Find out all the consequences it causes here.

Diseases Caused By The Indoor Air Pollution

Now we’ll describe a negative effect of indoor particulate matter on human health.

SBS or ”sick building syndrome” is a catch-all term describing the indoor air pollution impacts. Anyway, poor ventilation and maintained air conditioning are the top reasons for this consequence. 

SBS includes these common symptoms: 

  • Blocked sinuses or a runny nose
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Itchy eyes
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Acute and chronic bronchitis
  • Asthma attacks

Be mindful that if you notice such symptoms wherever you go and live, it’s unlikely due to SBS. Otherwise, if you get worse continually every time you enter a certain building, SBS may be to blame. 

Meanwhile, the adverse health effects from PM mostly occur with children, infants, and older adults with preexisting lung or heart diseases.  

Beyond that, PM will exacerbate respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, even ending in hospitalization and emergency department visits. 

Once having such issues, contact the person in charge (landlords, managers, employers) to treat SBS soon. 

Who Is At The Greatest Risk From Exposure To Particulate Matter From Indoor Air Pollution?

PM10 and PM2.5 impact the whole space inside and all family members. Still, children, asthmatics, and older adults with lung disease or chronic heart disease are most likely to be at risk when exposed to PM.

Notably, infants are susceptible to harm from inhaling PM with a large intake. Their immune systems are too weak to protect themselves. 

For evidence, a child in an environment with high levels of PM2.5 will have smaller lungs than ones living in places low in PM2.5.

How To Reduce Particulate Matter Indoors?

Fret about all dangers above? Don’t panic as we’ve rounded some effective solutions.

How To Reduce Particulate Matter Indoors


NASA claims that houseplants are nature’s life support system and an awesome way to control air pollution. 

They excel at improving indoor air quality by absorbing CO2 and even particulates attaching to CO2. 

Not to mention the microorganisms in the soil eliminate volatile organic compounds from the air. 

Better yet, indoor plants also improve your mood, relieve stress, and boost working productivity. Some plants you can try out are:

  • Peace Lily
  • Snake Plant
  • Golden Pothos
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Scarlet Star Bromeliad
  • English Ivy
  • Spider Plant
  • Boston Fern
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Aloe Vera
  • Corn Plant
  • Janet Craig

Reduce Clutter

Clutter facilitates the dust to hide, affecting your health so much. To this end, decluttering is good to good, which will clear your mind and air. 

Some ways to declutter quickly and simply are: 

  • Toss the trash: No matter where you live or work, get started to toss the obvious trash. It’s, of course, changing the air surrounding your first. 
  • Move unnecessary items out of your kitchen: Eliminate any non-kitchen items out of your way! A pile of stuff belongs to the responsive room. Everything comes in simple if all people give it a hand. 
  • Tidy up the living room: You can notice reading material seems to pile up in your living room. Old magazines and newspapers are excellent shelters for dust. No one wants this kind of discomfort. Hence, throw them away if you can. 
  • Let go of unused items in the home office: that’s it! You will get tired of getting into an office cramped with clutter every day. Say goodbye to useless stuff at once and refresh your space. 

HEPA Filters

High-efficiency particulate air (or HEPA) filters could serve as vacuum devices or air purifiers. These filters do the trick in removing spores, mites, dust, and other air particles.

The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology shows that a HEPA filter captures 99.97% of particles at least 0.3 microns.  

As seen in some findings, these models can reduce fine particulate matter by 55%and even outside PM coming inside roughly 20% or lower. 



Vacuuming is never out of the list, owing to its role. This simple-but-effective device can improve indoor air quality in no time. 

There are 3 cleaning levels: standard, allergen, and HEPA. A high-end vacuum comes with compatible HEPA filtration. They will alleviate the emissions and boost the air quality. 

All you need to do is pick the correct mode to improve the indoor quality.  

Conventional wisdom recommends using it at least three times a week to keep dust levels low. 

HVAC Filters

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning filters, effectively refreshing the air entering your houses.

Their top-qualified and effective systems mitigate the irritating particles’ amount easily. 

Most manufacturers advise users to change the HVAC every 90 days or 3 months. In the case of pets inside your house, 60 days or 2 months are a suggested duration for replacing the HVAC. 

Moreover, in spaces with multiple pets or people with pet allergies, replacement should be within 20 to 45 days.  

In brief, the more you use HVAC, the more frequently you need to change it. 


What Are The Indoor Air Pollution Sources?

Indoor air pollution sources often include these follows:

  • Tobacco Smoke: It’s regarded as the major cause of indoor air pollution, resulting in over 40,000 deaths in the US annually. A high-level intake of tobacco will boost the sudden infant death syndrome rate, ear problems, severe asthma, and acute respiratory infections. 
  • Carpet: it’s like an indoor pollutant trap. Indeed, some toxic gasses, mold spores, allergens, smoke particulates, and other harmful substances often settle in carpets.
  • Household products include paints, disinfectants, cleaning agents, air freshers, candles, solvents, and glues. Of note, these properties often emit VOCs, leading to headaches, nausea, organ damage, nose and throat irritation, even cancer. 
  • Appliances: Ovens, space heaters, fireplaces, water heaters, furnaces all require burning fuels like kerosene, gas, wood, or coal. These processes emit CO2, SO2, and other hazardous aldehydes. 
  • Pet dander: Domesticated animals’ feathers, fur, or tiny skin flakes often cause pets allergies. Not only cats and dogs, but guinea pigs, horses, rabbits, hamsters, and birds may drive you mad somehow.  
Indoor air pollution sources
Indoor air pollution sources

What Is The Difference Between PM10 And PM2.5?

PM2.5 and PM10 derive from different emission sources. Their chemical compositions aren’t similar accordingly. 

While PM2.5’s main proportion is emissions from the oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, and wood’s combustion, PM10 is formed by dust from landfills, agriculture, construction sites, wildfires, brush burning, even wind-blown dust from pollen, bacteria fragments, and open lands. 

Formed by various elements, their sizes are not the same. The image below speaks itself:

PM10 vs PM2.5 particulate size comparison 
PM10 vs PM2.5

PM10 vs PM2.5 particulate size comparison 

Each type of PM comes up with various effects on human beings. In other words, how serious the consequence is may vary in each case. 

As seen on an Indoor Air Hygiene Institute’s indoor air quality standards chart, the PM 2.5 safe levels indoors must be 12 μg/m3 or less.

In A Nutshell

Now that you’ve got the ins and outs to the question: What indoor air pollutants release particulate matter?

Whether in the office, in school, on the subway, or at home, most people spend much time staying indoors. If you are often concerned about outdoor pollution, it’s time to take indoor air quality seriously.  

By and large, your house will get stuffy and damp due to all the aforementioned air pollutants. To keep your family healthy, the know-how of mitigating these factors is a must. 

Your action needs for now! Your health is worth your arms and legs, no doubt!


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