Indoor Air Pollution

Generally, there is more focus on outdoor air pollution, and the realization that household air pollution is equally damaging is almost non-existent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that the deterioration of indoor air quality causes more than five million deaths annually, while more than 100 million suffer from frailties of different types.

Respiratory disorders represent a significant source of morbidity related to household air pollution.

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Low birth weight and attenuated lung function, childhood respiratory infections, ailments like cold and influenza along with the consequent increased risk for the development of asthma are all associated with pulmonary dysfunction.

Household air pollution also causes eye and skin infections. It increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular syndrome, and cancer.

Likewise, the impact on health has been observed in both low- and high-income countries, resulting in a popular term used to indicate the physical disorder and associated mental depression; the Sick Building Syndrome.

The toxicity of indoor air is mainly due to pollutants that penetrate in from the outdoors. Nevertheless, some sources are unique to the indoor environment. Indoor pollution thus differs from outdoor air pollution, and it is tricky to estimate solely by the estimations concerning outdoor air pollution. Due to the multiple sources, indoor air pollution varies considerably in composition and concentration from the outdoor variety. The most significant factors underlying household air pollution are domestic comportments, including solid fuel combustion, heating, cleaning, smoking, etc. Solid fuel is commonly used for cooking and heating both in urban and rural areas.

When burnt, solid fuels produce a poor indoor environment so far as health issues are concerned. Cigarette smoke, formaldehyde from carpet and furniture, ozone from household electrical devices, pesticides, mosquito repellents, cleaning agents, etc., are toxic and worsen the quality of indoor air. Along with household behaviours and practices, ventilation is an inclusive factor that impacts household pollution concentrations.

The decrease in indoor-outdoor air exchange rates can result in the accumu-lation of indoor pollutants. The risk of accretion of contaminants gets multiplied with improved insulation of rooms for better air-conditioning of houses and offices. Moreover, building materials, like glass fibre, paint glues, varnishes, etc., dust mites, and dampness all contaminate the indoor air.

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Proper ventilation, change in lifestyle, use of indoor plants, ban on smoking indoors, use of natural environment-friendly products may improve the situation.



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