Air Quality Inside Your House - Don't Take it for Granted
Importance of indoor air quality.
Many of us think that the internal spaces of our houses are protected from pollution and we are safe. Recent researches show that it is not always correct. Internal air can be more hazardous to health than the external air. Although this title specifically mentioned the word "house", this situation is not different for work places or any other habitable spaces. As we all spend more time inside buildings, we should be very careful on this issue. Although the impact of such situation is not immediately felt, weaker inmates such as children, elderly and sick persons can get affected faster. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the air quality of inside spaces where you spend most of your time.
Sources of Indoor Pollution
What are the causes of indoor air pollution? Indoor air can be polluted in many ways by indoor and outdoor polution sources. These sources can be materials that went into the construction of building itself, Fuels, decaying material, cleaning liquids and other similar materials, Insecticides and pesticides, systems such as aircondition ducts that collect dust and release it into the indoor spaces, and any others. If the pollutants are allowed to remain in the indoor spaces the concentration of these items can increase and reach a level which is harmful.
Cooking as a Source of Air Pollution
Cooking is one of the main and an avoidable activity in a house, but this can also cause air pollution. In developed nations and urban areas of devoloping nations, the main problem can be the release of harmful gases and particles from deffective fuel burning stoves. Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen dioxide are among such gases commonly released during incomplete burning of fuels.
It is said, in poor countries indoor air pollution caused by burning wood, coal or other cheap fuels in kitchens kills about 1.5 million people worldwide each year. According to recent surveys conducted by WHO, "Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh had the highest percentage of death and disease linked to indoor air pollution in Asia, followed by India and Laos. Combined, more than half a million deaths occur annually in those countries alone".
"Pollution levels recorded in some Bangladesh and Indian kitchens were up to 40 times higher than the WHO's recommended levels over a 24-hour period. During peak cooking times, those rates spiked even more".
Recent surveys suggest that large percent of U.S. households used at least one pesticide product indoors during the past year. Products used most often are insecticides and disinfectants. It seems that a very high percent of most people's exposure to pesticides occurs indoors and that measurable levels of up to a dozen pesticides have been found in the air inside homes. The amount of pesticides found in homes appears to be greater than can be explained by recent pesticide use in those households. This means that pollutants from insecticides enter into indoor areas from out side.
Importance of Ventilation
The level of pollutants can be kept low within indoor spaces by providing adequate ventilation. Ventilation ensures that the polluted air is removed and replaced by fresh air. Ventilation can be natural or artificial. Natural ventilation occurs due to pressure difference between internal and external spaces. Outside air enters through operable windows and pushes the indoor air out through other windows or any other openings. Provision of windows on the opposite walls is most beneficial. In some places such as heavily industrialized areas, the external air is extremely polluted. In such places natural ventilation is not a satisfactory option. Extreme climatic conditions also can make this unsuitable in certain areas. In those circumstances controlled air change need to be provided by mechanical means. Depending on the situation these systems should incorporate devices for heating, cooling, humidity control or air purification.
- The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality
This booklet was prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to help you decide whether to take actions that can reduce the level of indoor air pollution in your own home.
- American Lung association Website
Contains lot of useful information on indoor air quality related matters.
- Indoor air quality
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- Cooking can create harmful indoor pollution
Claims of serious potential risks associated with Malay, Chinese and Indian cooking methods present worrying news for budding Ken Homs and Madhur Jaffreys.
- Indoor Air Pollution & Cooking Technologies Interventions
.....biomass-burning systems produce many pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO). The result is indoor PM concentrations hundreds of times the levels deemed acceptable by international standards.
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