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Air Quality Inside Your House - Don't Take it for Granted

Updated on September 19, 2007

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.

Smoke from burning tubacco
Smoke from burning tubacco

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.

Smoke released from burning fire wood is a major health hazard in poor countries.
Smoke released from burning fire wood is a major health hazard in poor countries.
Another source of pollution related to cooking.
Another source of pollution related to cooking.

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".

Spraying insecticides and pesticides to control mosquitos etc. in out side can enter into the indoor spaces.
Spraying insecticides and pesticides to control mosquitos etc. in out side can enter into the indoor spaces.

Insecticides

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.

Smoke and harmful gasses released from industrial installation pollute the external air.
Smoke and harmful gasses released from industrial installation pollute the external air.

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.

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    • profile image

      Ron 

      7 years ago

      Air Quality is important. I had problems with mold in my house. Cost us a lot of money to have the mold removed by a Professional Mold Remediator. Thanks

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      7 years ago

      Interesting, in the UK the most pollution appears to come from PCI sites - here is a map of air quality vs. house prices that you might enjoy:

      http://blog.gartoo.net/are-polluting-factories-in-...

      Keep it up,

      Kevin

    • Rmnathan profile imageAUTHOR

      Rmnathan 

      10 years ago from Sharjah

      You are right misa. I will do it when I get time.

    • profile image

      misa 

      10 years ago

      u have to include so many things

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