In the last one month, we have heard many things about rising pollution levels in the atmosphere in major cities across India. Experts believe that increased level of harmful pollutants like PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the air poses grave health risks that can affect people across generations and even unborn babies. While we may be aware of the harmful effects of outdoor pollution, a pertinent question arises – how conscious are we about indoor pollution?
Environmental agencies state that the air inside our homes, office, etc. can be 3 or 4 times more harmful than the air outside. It is fair to estimate that on an average we spend 70 to 90 % of our time indoors. Given the amount of time we spend indoors, breathing in the poor quality air can be detrimental to one’s health.
But what is the source of indoor pollution? You will be shocked to learn, but some things that we take for granted contribute to indoor pollution. Here is a list of 5 shocking sources of indoor pollution that most of us are unaware of-
In India, 90% living in the rural areas use traditional stove and fossil fuel to prepare food. The smoke from mud and brick stove releases high levels of pollutants and soot particles that enter the lungs, thus increasing the risk of cancer, upper respiratory tract infection and even skin allergies. But, what about those who rely on modern cooking range and appliances? Are they safe from the smoke and pollutants released indoor from cooking gas. The truth is that our kitchen is likely to be infested with certain harmful pollutants that are found in smog outside out homes.
Kitchen is the most integral component of a house and no household can do without one. However, one can take adequate measures to limit indoor pollution by installing chimney, air filter, exhaust fans inside the kitchen. Air purifiers from Kent are very effective in improving the indoor quality and removing unwanted dust and kitchen smoke. Apart from this, it is extremely important that the kitchen is well ventilated. Using induction stove is yet another way to deal with indoor air-pollution.
Broken Lights and Electronics
Broken fluorescent light, CLFs, faulty electronic items and broken appliance lying around the house do more harm than good. They not only eat up space, but can also be a source of harmful chemicals in the air like mercury, neurotoxins etc. Therefore, it is advised to remove all kinds of old laptops, batteries, or broken lights from the house. Children or pregnant women exposed to these harmful chemicals can have adverse impact on their health.
Agarbattis or Perfumed Incense
Using agarbattis at home for religious purpose or as a room fresher is a common practice in thousands of homes across India. However, scientists at South China University of Technology revealed that the smoke from incense or agarbattis is mutagenic, leading to changes in the DNA, thus causing cancer. The scientists also compared the fumes of agarbattis to cigarette smoke and found the former more toxic than the latter.
Smoke from the agarbattis can cause irritation to the eye and also respiratory tract infection and lung diseases. Therefore, people are advised to ventilate or install air filters in the room, especially if they burn agarbattis at home often. Children should not be exposed to agarbatti fumes. People are also encouraged to buy 100% natural agarbattis, and refrain from buying cheap incense sticks that are made from harmful chemicals and substances.
Carpeting enhances the décor of a house. However, it also harbours allergens, dusts, bacteria and pollutants that can intervene with the indoor air-quality. We are not asking you to throw away your carpets, but make sure that you clean and vacuum them on a regular basis.
Mosquito repellent agents
Every year thousands and hundreds of people are diagnosed with vector borne diseases like dengue and malaria.To protect ourselves, many of us rely onthe mosquito repellent machines or burn mosquito coil day in and day out. While, these measures may be effective in keeping bugs and mosquitoes at bay, the fumes and chemicals dispensed from mosquito repelling agents can cause eye irritation, suffocation, asthma and bronchial infections.
Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya threat is for real. However, instead of relying on chemical based repellants, use natural oils like Eucalyptus, lemon, tree oil and lavender. Neem tree oil also works well. Besides, keeping the mosquitoes in check, the natural scent released from these oils will keep your house deodorized and toxic free.