Is the atmosphere in your house clean and healthy enough? Why do you and your members sometimes sneeze or have a sore throat for no reason? Check the IAQ as the concentration of the pollutants may have surpassed the target value.
This phenomenon will result in indoor contamination. If you are new to this issue, the below writing will equip you with deeper knowledge about: What is indoor air pollution?. There are valuable tips to keep your space’s ambiance fresh attached.
What Is Indoor Air Pollution?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the atmosphere’s condition that exists in a room or building filled with people for at least 60 minutes.
Indoor air is polluted when there is a high concentration of dirt, dust, or gasses in an enclosed space. In other words, we call biological, physical, or chemical contaminants contained in the airflow in a room “indoor air pollution”.
There are two typical types of air pollution. The first one includes gasses such as nitrogen oxide (NO2), Sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (NO). The other consists of particulate matter, including dust or dirt in minor form.
The Causes Of Indoor Air Pollution
Here are typical indoor pollution sources with details attached:
- Tobacco products. The burning cigars, pipes, cigarettes, and smokers’ exhalation will create secondhand smoke. EPA classifies it as a Group A carcinogen containing over 7000 toxic elements.
- Household cleaning and maintenance. Even the equipment for cleansing is considered indoor air pollutants as air freshener can emit an amount of contamination.
- Fuel-burning combustion appliances. The gas-cook stoves or heaters release some pollutants like CO (carbon monoxide) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide).
- Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices. While the air conditioner or refrigerator is functioning, they produce a polluted ambiance like the heater.
- Building and furnishing materials. Some manufacturing materials are formulated with formaldehyde and asbestos. Besides, decorations made from pressed wood or lead-based paint may also contain harmful chemicals.
- Excess moisture. This phenomenon naturally happens when the ambient temperature drops. The formed droplets remaining on the surface keep the mold, dust and condenses in the atmosphere.
- Outdoor pollutants. The cause of air pollution in enclosed spaces may be from outside. Certain pollutants such as radon and pesticides enter your room through the ground. The contaminated outdoor ambiance is another root as well.
- Other sources. There are pollens that originated from trees as well as transmitted viruses or bacteria from living bodies that affect the IAQ in your accommodation. Some wet or damp corners or dust-collected things in your house may accumulate pollution.
The Effects Of Indoor Air Pollution On Human Health
Due to the swift industrial development and modernization, IAQ degradation becomes a burning issue and results in numerous diseases for people.
The least serious and most common symptoms are sneezing, coughing, or eye irritation.
In some cases, when the concentration of contaminants in the atmosphere is higher, people may have headaches, dizziness, or fatigue.
Worse, staying in an enclosed space with the TVOC level of IAQ ranging from 2.2 to 5.5. ppm will damage your health seriously. Heart disease, respiratory diseases, asthma, or cancer will possibly happen.
Here are some specific health effects on humans caused by poorly ambient conditions based on classifications of the sources:
- Cleaning and decorating products. Some of these things contain volatile organic compounds, ammonia, and bleach that trigger the development of allergy or asthma when you inhale them.
- The natural pollutants. Radon is the second leading root of lung cancer. Legionella, a type of bacterium, can result in pneumonia through direct exposure.
- Toxic flows of CO and NO2. During short-term exposure, people may get lethal.
- The contaminated substances from mold, dust mites, tobacco products may make some people experience asthma attacks.
Solutions For Indoor Air Quality Improvement
From the mentioned example of indoor air pollution, here are some recommendations to improve the IAQ at home or the workplace.
Keep The Surrounding Environment Clean
To prevent the pollution outside from entering your house, make sure that the surrounding atmosphere of your location is safe enough.
You should cut off the grass, prune the trees and avoid using pesticides in your garden. Check the foundation’s quality to make sure that the radon can not get into your home through the holes or crashes.
Ventilate Indoor Space
When the outdoor air is dependable, open the doors and windows regularly to let fresh ambient flows circulate inside the space. Ventilation also helps pull out the existing pollutants.
Pay more attention to the kitchen, basement, and attic. These are the areas having the highest concentration of contaminants. If there is not enough outdoor ambiance filling in, the level of pollution may pose problems for health.
As mentioned before, tobacco products are one of the most common causes. The smoker and the people around will be suffering from secondhand smoke that lingers in the air.
If possible, people should quit smoking to protect the atmosphere in their locations. Let’s make our homes an anti-smoking zone.
Stop Using Gas Stove
You can replace the gas stoves with an electric or induction cooker. These types of stoves will reduce and eliminate the harmful chemical emission in your kitchen.
Additionally, choose an eco-friendly heater and avoid other fuel-burning combustion appliances to keep the air clean.
Clean The House Regularly
Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of allergens and wipe the dust-covered surfaces with a damp cloth. Build a habit of washing pillowcases, blankets, and bed sheets every week to minimize dust mites.
Keep your home or workplace inspected for bacteria and harmful chemicals. Replace the furniture or decorating stuff made from formaldehyde with indoor plants.
Control The Humidity
Have regular checks on the moisture of the atmosphere inside to reduce the droplets of excess humidity. You will never expect to have mildew, fungus, and other biological pollutants spreading in your place.
Meanwhile, it is advised to make sure that no asbestos remains in your newly built accommodation. It is better to choose the one manufactured with non-asbestos materials.
Use Air Filter Or Air Purifier
Although we recommend opening the doors and windows to get fresh flows from outside, the wind may carry the dust and a small number of contaminants.
Equip your house with an air purifier or filter to make it free of allergens, and minor dirt is taken by the breeze, human, or pet.
What Are The Differences Between Indoor Pollution Vs Outdoor Pollution?
The sources of indoor pollution mainly depend on the distinct activities of people living inside. Meanwhile, outdoor contamination is rooted in the whole industries or the function of factories.
There are fewer sources of outer IAQ degradation. Besides, only outdoor pollution can affect the IAQ inside and not vice versa.
How Does The Outdoor Air Pollution Get Inside?
There are three major ways for outdoor contaminants to get inside. They are natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation, and infiltration.
As long as the atmosphere inside and outside faces the other, the circulation will happen. Unfortunately, the pollutants carried by the outdoor flows will badly affect the IAQ.
The pollution inside may pose a more serious danger to your health than you expect. Thus, understanding what is indoor air pollution is necessary. Make sure the ambient flow inside is clean and safe from outer contaminants.
Hope that the information provided is helpful and timely for you. Follow the recommendations to deal with the problems happening to the IAQ in your enclosed space.