Are Our Homes Slowly Killing Us? How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Did you know that improper ventilation and poor humidity can significantly decrease your indoor air quality? In fact, some of the major causes contributing to indoor air pollution are the usage of air conditioning, gas stoves, and other toxic products. It is crucial to identify the sources of indoor pollution and improve air quality, as prolonged exposure to poor air can lead to long-term health problems.

What Is Indoor Air Pollution?

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Most of us may not be aware of the term indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is a type of pollution that occurs when certain air pollutants from within households contaminate the air of indoor living areas.

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Indoor air pollution can cause many health diseases, like:

  • Respiratory diseases.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Cancer in extreme cases.
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What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

One of the most common indoor pollutants is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by appliances or heaters that burn natural gas, oil, wood, propane, or kerosene.

Other familiar sources of indoor pollution are:

  • Paint
  • Toxins In Nonstick kitchen appliances.
  • Art materials
  • Cleaners and disinfectants
  • Tobacco Use
  • Gas stove
  • Air Conditioner
  • Pesticide

Symptoms of Bad Air Quality

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People living in a bad air quality environment often report the following symptoms:

  • Irritation in the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Allergies
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Frequent coughing
  • Sinus

What Do The Research Sources Reveal About Indoor Pollution?

Let’s look at some statistics.

One of the most surprising statistics reported by the EPA said that the air indoors is ten times more polluted than the air outdoors.

This is shocking because apart from our jobs, we spend a significant part of our life inside our homes. Even when the coronavirus Pandemic hit globally, people are spending their time indoors more than they did before.

Therefore, keeping and continually improving the air quality of our homes is the need of the hour.

Furthermore, According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 4.3 million people a year die from exposure to household air pollution. We inhale approximately 15,000 or more quarts of air per day; most of the time, this air can be polluted.

Studies have shown that the frequency rate of pediatric asthma has increased from 40.1 to 69.1, majorly due to indoor air pollution.

The amount of children and young adults with severe allergies and asthma continues to climb every year. This has been linked to increasingly poor indoor air quality.

Various factors contribute to sources of indoor air pollution, including your:

  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen

According to WHO, most people in many parts of the world cook and heat their homes using solid fuels (i.e., wood, charcoal, coal, dung, crop wastes) on open fires or traditional stoves.

Such inefficient cooking and heating practices produce high levels of household (indoor) air pollution, which includes a range of health-damaging pollutants.

Recently, awareness has been raised across the country to improve indoor air quality and control Indoor Air Pollution.

On a personal level, too, you can do a few things to improve the air quality you breathe. So go ahead to learn about how to improve the home air quality.

How To Decrease The Sources of Indoor Pollution & Improve Indoor Air Quality?

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The secret to improving our home’s air quality lies in the tiny insignificant thing we choose to daily in our life.

If you want to really freshen up the air quality of your homes, follow the mentioned points.

1. Use Air Purifiers

Air Purifiers or Air Filters help prevent toxins and bacteria from getting into your home.

They can filter out up to 99.97 percent of all indoor air pollutants larger than .3 microns.

This includes mold, pollen, dander, and most chemical pollutants. However, air purifiers require to be maintained, and the filters need to be changed regularly.

2. Vacuum Cleaner 

Regularly cleaning your home will help reduce pollution significantly. Vacuum cleaners are beneficial as they suck all the dust, germs, allergens, and other tiny components that a regular broom may not be able to clean.

Ensure that you’re using a vacuum cleaner every time you extract dust and pollutant from the sofa, bedsheet, pillows, mattress, and carpets at least once a week.

3. Indoor Plants

Plants are essential for significantly reducing air pollution. So, using them indoors would be a wise idea as it will freshen up your whole space.

Although we are all aware that plants breathe in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, they also help purify the indoor air. Not only will you be able to reduce indoor air pollution, but also give a nice décor touch to your house.

Set up tiny plants wherever you can stay in your home, especially at the workplace, because multiple studies have shown an increase in productivity and creativity using green plants on the work desk.

Furthermore, green indoor plants can also relieve one from psychological distress, among the many other benefits.

4. Ventilation 

Every home needs access to proper ventilation for filtering smoke from cooking, burning charcoal, and other dust particles from various activities.

Furthermore, ventilation aids in eliminating the stale air from the home environment, creating the way for fresh and clean air.

Hence, make sure you keep your windows open to let in the fresh air. If you live in a closed space with minimal windows, turn on the fans and minimize stuffing the room with unwanted furniture.

5. Avoid VOC 

Choose your wall paint wisely.

VOCs aka Volatile Organic Compounds are released as gases from chemicals with adverse health effects.

For instance, make sure the wall paint you choose doesn’t have any harmful chemicals in them.

The American Lung Association also confirms that indoor paints, polishes, and chemicals like deodorants/air sprays, and cleaning agents generate VOC, thereby damaging your internal organs and nervous systems.

Hence, whenever you buy paints, check for brands that claim to have substances that help purify the air quality.

So, ensure to check the amount of VOC on the packet before buying any of the products mentioned above.

6. Maintenance 

Although it is essential to maintain our homes, ensure you don’t have any molds, insects, or any other harmful substance growing in your homes that can affect the air quality.

There are also radon test kits available in the market and online, which can help determine the radon levels present in your homes.

Check for leaking taps, gas, ventilation spaces, etc., as high levels of moisture generate fungus and breed germs. Also, segregate and take out your garbage regularly.

7. Declutter The Mess

The most important thing to maintain cleanliness would be to get rid of all the clutter out of your house. Clutter accumulates dust that can be ridiculously challenging to clean daily and can lead one to have allergies.

8. Clean Furniture Regularly

Don’t forget to clean your furniture regularly as it can accumulate dust particles over time. Using a liquid cleaner especially meant for furniture can be beneficial to get rid of the harmful germs and pollens.

Hence, don’t be afraid to channelize your inner Monica Geller when cleaning your house.

9. Don’t Smoke Indoors

People who smoke indoors can significantly deplete the air quality. This can lead to poor quality along with many other health issues. Most importantly, smoking cigarettes are bad for your health and consists of loads of lethal chemicals, to say the least.

So, whatever the reason is, try not to smoke!

10. Throw Garbage Regularly

Accumulation of wastes and garbage inside the home can lead to stale air quality if not discarded regularly. Therefore, it is vital to discard waste materials properly.

Also, separating wet waste from dry waste can immensely help in waste management.

All you need to do is throw the dry wastes like paper and packaging in one dustbin while the wet scraps like vegetable peels, leftover food, rotten fruits, and vegetables into another dustbin.

Final Thoughts,

Most importantly, lend a helping hand. There are many homes where women still use traditional cooking methods due to the unavailability of facilities or financial conditions.

Various charities are working to help such causes. Therefore, it is our responsibility to spread awareness about the ill effects of indoor pollution.

Get outside regularly rather than staying cooped up in your homes. Take a stand and don’t compromise on the quality of air that you breathe indoors.

It’s time we make the right decisions and take care of our health and the health of our loved ones.

Do you any other ways to keep indoors clean? Please leave it in the comments section below. Also, subscribe to us for more valuable articles.

Key Takeaways On Indoor Air Pollution

  • Indoor air pollution is a severe threat to human lives globally today.
  • Besides, the World Health Organization reported that the death of 4.3 million people occurs due to exposure to sources of indoor air pollution.
  • Therefore, improving indoor air quality is more than essential today.
  • Indoor air pollution occurs when certain air pollutants from within households contaminate the air of indoor areas.
  • Furthermore, it can lead to many health diseases like respiratory, breathing, and cancer in extreme cases.
  • Carbon monoxide is one of the most common sources of indoor air pollution.
  • Additionally, people living in bad air quality face negative symptoms like headaches, breathing problems, and coughing.
  • With this in mind, using air purifiers helps prevent toxins and bacteria from getting into your home.
  • Likewise, cleaning your home daily with a vacuum suck all the dust, germs, allergens, and other tiny components.
  • While we know plants improve air pollution, indoor plants can do the same job too.
  • Moreover, ensure that your home has a proper way of ventilation.
  • Also, avoid using paints with VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • Lastly, ensure you don’t have any molds, insects, or any other harmful substance growing in your homes, affecting the air quality.

What are the common causes of indoor air pollution?

  • Paint
  • Toxins In Nonstick kitchen appliances.
  • Art materials
  • Cleaners and disinfectants
  • Tobacco Use
  • Gas stove
  • Air Conditioner
  • Pesticide

What are the symptoms of bad air quality?

  • Irritation in the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
  • Fatigue and tiredness.
  • Headache.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Allergies.
  • Nausea and dizziness.
  • Frequent coughing.
  • Sinus.

How to improve indoor air quality?

  • Use air filters.
  • Regularly clean your home using a vacuum cleaner.
  • Place indoor plants.
  • Ensure a proper way for ventilation.
  • Avoid Volatile Organic Compounds.
Felicia is a full-time teacher and a freelancer with an interest in blogging. She is also a die-hard fan of the 'Friends' series.