The Causes Of Indoor Air Pollution
When people think about air pollution, they will generally think about outdoor pollution which is commonly caused by car exhaust and industrial production. Most people do not consider that indoor air is also subject to pollution which could cause harm to the body. It is just as important to know about the causes of indoor air pollution as it is to know about the causes of outdoor air pollution. It is important to note that some of the causes of indoor air pollution will be more common than others and some causes are geographically limited.
Radon is one of the most common causes of air pollution and is an invisible, radioactive gas. This gas is emitted during the decay of radium and could be found in certain rock formations located under houses. It is important to note that there are some locations where radon is more common than others and you need to check if you are living in one of these areas.
Radon gas is able to enter buildings through cracks in the foundations of a building and in basements. When the gas enters a building, it will start to pollute the air and cause health problems for the occupants. These health problems can include an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
When people think about second-hand smoke, they will think about cigarettes and this is still one of the largest causes of indoor air pollution. Even when the smoker leaves the building, there is a chance for second-hand smoke to enter through the windows and other openings in the building. Second-hand smoke from cigarettes contains particulate and gaseous matter that can lead to major health problems. Check out our latest review of the best air cleaner for smokers.
However, it is not only smoke from cigarettes that you need to be aware of. Indoor air pollution is also caused by smoke from fireplaces and stoves. Fireplaces contribute to indoor air pollution even when there is a clear chimney. Stoves are a lesser known smoke creator and this will generally happen when using gas or when old food and spills are burnt on the stove.
Second-hand smoke can cause a number of health problems when you are exposed for a prolonged period of time. Respiratory problems such as asthma can be exacerbated by the smoke. Additionally, there is an increased risk of lung cancer and chronic respiratory conditions when exposed to this type of air pollution.
Adhesives And Glues
When you use adhesives and glues in your home, they will release VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs will include compounds such as acetone and methyl ethyl ketone which do cause indoor air pollution. These products will also have formaldehyde which is another air pollutant even though it has been banned in a number of states.
There are some cement glues which contain n-hexane which is a neurotoxin. Formaldehyde is often including in some common adhesives and in certain types of paint. Both of these compounds are known to cause major health problems when you are exposed to them for a prolonged period of time.
In high concentrations, this form of air pollution will cause eye irritation. After a period of time, they can also affect the normal functioning of the nervous system. Other effects of these compounds can include increased headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Mold And Bacteria
Mold is another cause of indoor air pollution along with bacteria. Mold will generally be found in dark and damp locations such as certain parts of the bathroom and within the walls. The air conditioning system can also contain mold if it has not been correctly cleaned.
Mold is a major problem when it contributes to indoor air pollution because of the effects that it has on the body. Mold can cause chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and will cause allergic reactions in other people. The impact of the mold will be affected by the type of mold that is growing in the home.
The issue with mold comes when the mold spores are released into the air. Once these spores are in the air, they create air pollution and will be inhaled by people and animals. They can then start to grow in the lungs because they are an ideal location for the mold to take hold.
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Another gas that contributes to indoor air pollution is carbon monoxide. This is an odorless and colorless gas which is very dangerous to people. The gas is released when fossil fuels are burnt and is part of the furnace system of many buildings.
Carbon monoxide is an acutely toxic gas which means that it can cause death if the levels of inhalation are high enough. When there are low levels of carbon monoxide in the air, it can lead to nausea and unconsciousness. The high risk of death which comes with this air pollutant is the reason why people are advised to have a carbon monoxide detector in their homes.
In the past, asbestos was one of the main indoor air pollutants, but this has been changing. With the banning of asbestos in building materials, it is no longer one of the major contributors to indoor air pollution. However, this does not mean that it is completely eradicated and there are chances of it still causing indoor air pollution.
Asbestos is actually a mineral which is heat resistant and was used in building and insulation before 1975. However, when asbestos is broken down, the fibers will enter the air and cause pollution which is very harmful to humans. When exposed for a prolonged period of time to asbestos, the risks of lung cancer increase. There are many cases of asbestos being the primary cause of lung cancer, particularly mesothelioma.
Synthetic Perfumes, Deodorizers And Fragrances
The compounds used to create deodorizers, perfumes and fragrances are largely unregulated and this means that they can contribute to indoor air pollution. There are some fragrances that use highly volatile as well as semi-volatile chemicals which have been found to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Some of the compounds found in these items are also toxic in high doses and can cause a number of disorders when you are exposed to them for a prolonged period of time.
When spraying perfumes and deodorizers in the home, you will be creating air pollution. Fortunately, this pollution will generally dissipate because the amount of contamination is not too great. However, if these items are sprayed multiple times a day into a building that does not have correct ventilation they can cause major problems.
People who have pets will know that you are always finding hair on most of the surfaces of the house. In households with pets, pet dander is one of the most common air pollutants that need to be addressed. Pet dander is the dead hairs and dried skin that your pets shed during the day and this can cause problems.
Pet dander is a respiratory irritant which can use lung complications in people who are allergic to animal hair and in those with other lung conditions. There is no way to completely rid a building of pet dander, but it is important to clean as much as possible.
Fumes From Paraffin Wax Candles
The burning of paraffin wax candles can create toxic air pollution which is why these candles should be avoided. A study completed by the South Carolina State University found that these candles will release toxin chemicals when burnt. The toxic chemicals which contribute to air pollution will include benzene and toluene.
When paraffin wax candles are burnt inside a building, the levels of these chemicals will quickly increase to unhealthy levels. There are a number of respiratory and other health problems that high levels of these chemicals can cause.
Particulate Matter And Gasses From Office Equipment
Most people do not realize that their office equipment is actually contributing to indoor air pollution. Office equipment contributes to indoor air pollution in two ways. The first is through the release of ultra-fine particulate matter and the second is through the release of VOCs. Here are some of the good tips to measure your home air quality.
When paper is run through copiers and printers, fine particles will be released into the air and inhaled by people in the building. The toner used in these machines will also release fine particles when printing which can penetrate deep into the lungs. The VOCs which are released by the fluids and other materials used by these machines will also cause a range of respiratory problems when the air is not correctly ventilated.
There are many causes of indoor air pollution that you need to be aware of with some causes being more dangerous than others. Indoor air pollution is something that you cannot avoid because even dead skin cells will be a part of this. However, you can mitigate the effects of indoor air pollution by ensuring that every room in the building is well ventilated and aired properly. There are also a number of monitoring devices which can be used to ensure that certain toxic causes of air pollution are kept to a minimum or eradicated completely.
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