While most people think air pollution mostly comes from factories or cars, the air in your workplace and home can also be polluted. In some cases, indoor air pollution can be more harmful than outdoor air pollution. Today, Power Vac of Ottawa technicians discuss indoor air pollution, how it happens, and how you can fix it.
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
Indoor air pollution, caused by the release of harmful pollutants like fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide, can be a significant concern for energy-efficient homes. This is because energy-efficient homes tend to be airtight. This can lead to stagnant air and rapid rise in pollutant levels, which can be dangerous for those who spend long periods inside.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
There are many ways the air inside your home or workplace can become polluted. Some are easy to notice because of the smell, but others often go undetected. Some of the most common pollutants include:
Pet dander is a common indoor air pollutant. It’s a byproduct of a pet’s fur, skin and saliva. When pet dander is in the air, it can cause respiratory issues like asthma, hay fever, and allergies.
Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals and is a common and dangerous indoor air pollutant. It can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
Secondhand tobacco smoke is another major indoor air pollutant. It is responsible for a hefty number of lung cancer deaths in nonsmoking adults annually.
Tobacco smoke is ten times more polluted than diesel car exhaust, making it one of the most severe indoor air pollution sources.
Mould, an indoor air pollutant, can cause many health issues, such as respiratory infections, asthma, and allergies. It grows in damp and humid areas and can be found on walls, floors, ceilings, and basements.
Exposure to mould can provoke sickness and cause serious respiratory infections for those with weakened immune systems.
Many cleaning products can contain harmful chemicals that can pollute indoor air. They can release toxic fumes that can cause health problems like respiratory infections, asthma, and cancer.
These chemicals also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are gases that can evaporate at room temperature, causing short- and long-term issues like headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
Indoor air pollution from cooking stoves is linked to health issues like respiratory infections, asthma, heart disease, and cancer. The World Health Organization reports that indoor air pollution from cooking stoves causes around 4.3 million deaths annually.
Maintaining Healthy Indoor Air
Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can keep your indoor air safe. Some of these include:
Ensure Your House is Properly Ventilated
Proper ventilation is crucial for reducing indoor air pollution. It helps remove polluted air and replace it with fresh, clean air from outside.
Insufficient ventilation can lead to dangerous levels of pollutants, especially in homes sealed tightly for energy conservation. It can also cause carbon dioxide build-up, leading to health issues like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
Use Environmentally-Friendly Cleaners
Green cleaners made with natural ingredients like white vinegar, baking soda, borax, citrus fruit, and essential oils are safe for indoor use and effective in cleaning surfaces, removing dirt, dust, and grime.
Maintain Clean Indoor Spaces
Maintaining clean and dry indoor spaces, especially in areas prone to mould and mildew, helps in reducing indoor air pollution. Repairing leaks or water damage is also essential to prevent mould and mildew growth in these areas.