The indoor air we breathe can five times more polluted than the outdoor air. High pollution can cause eye irritation, sore throat, headaches, and dry nose. It can be a reason for harmful lung diseases and asthma as well. There are many reasons for indoor pollution like smoke, radon gas, molds, high or low humidity level, and airborne toxins.
These indoor air pollutants come from a wide range of products. That is why indoor air pollution is more harmful than outside air pollution. In this article, we are going to talk about some indoor air pollutants and their sources. It is very important to know pollutants and their sources to improve indoor air quality.
So keep reading…
Common Indoor Air Pollutants and Their Sources
Here are some indoor pollutants and their sources.
1. Biological Air Pollutants
Biological air pollutants mean many dangerous bacteria & viruses, pet dander, pollen, and cockroaches. These are the main biological pollutants. These biological pollutants can cause many health issues like asthma, shortness of breath, fever, allergies, pneumonia, cough, sore throat, and many digestive problems. Mold and mildews can produce harmful toxins.
According to (environmental Protection Agency) general good housekeeping and maintenance of heating and air conditioning equipment are very important. You can stop the growth of these harmful pollutants. If you can control air humidity level between 30 to 50 percent in your home then it can stop reproducing of these pollutants.
Sources of Biological Air Pollutants
- Pollen from plants
- Pets which are sources of saliva
- Viruses which are transmitted by living things
- Bacteria and viruses spread by animals, soils, plant, and people
- Urine from rats and mice
- Body parts of cockroaches, rodents and insects
2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds are very harmful to human health. The volatile organic compounds can cause cancer and many other harmful diseases. The VOCs are the most dangerous pollutants in your home.
There are many reasons behind VOCs. The VOCs can also affect your nervous system. To protect yourself avoid using harmful cosmetic and personal care product that contains VOCs.
The VOCs are in both sides indoors and outdoors. The VOCs join other gases through chemical processes after released in the air. The VOCs mainly produce by some household products. Let see the sources of VOC. Mostly VOCs produced by paint you may have felt a headache after painting because of VOCs.
Sources of Volatile Organic Compounds
- Paints and paint stripers
- Carpet and flooring
- Air fresheners
- Building materials
- Cosmetic products
- Gasoline and fuel oil
- Other personal care products
3. Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that can improve pollutants indoors. Carbon monoxide can affect your respiratory system and cause shortness of breath. You may experience symptoms like headache, fast heart rate, tiredness, and confusion. The high concentration of carbon dioxide can cause death also.
Your air conditioners and heaters can also produce this silent killer gas. So make sure these types of devices are perfectly installed. Do not use gas stoves or any other appliances to heat your house. It can be a source of carbon monoxide gas. It can easily transmit to person to person but it depends on age.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Cooking and heating
- Gas stoves
- Tobacco smoke
- Gasoline-powered equipment
- Air conditioners and heaters
4. Molds and Mold Spores
Mold is a type of fungi it can grow indoors and outdoors. The molds are as dangerous as viruses and VOCs. Molds can affect our respiratory and immune systems especially those who have allergies and asthma. There are many types of molds like allergenic mold, toxic mold, black mold, etc.
A low level of mold is harmless but high-level mold can affect the human body. The UV-C light is a very effective option for mold and molds spores. Many air purifier uses UV-C light to remove bacteria, viruses, mold, etc.
Molds and mold spores are present everywhere indoor and outdoor. The most harmful mold in indoor environments is Stachybotrys. The Stachybotrys is a type of molds that produce potent mycotoxins (the substance of toxin).
Sources of Molds & Mold Spores
- Wood & drywall
- Moisture and high humidity level
- Cotton cloths
- Warm temperature
- Poor ventilation
5. Nitrogen Dioxide
The nitrogen dioxide and smoke are common air pollutants in indoor environments. It can produce by the chemical process of nitrogen dioxide and water. The nitrogen dioxide is a toxic and corrosive gas. The high level of nitrogen dioxide can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory system.
It can also cause pulmonary edema and diffuse lung injury. A low level may cause some asthmatics and increase the risk of respiratory infections, especially in teenagers.
Sources of Nitrogen Dioxide
- Cigarette smoke
- Defective installation of air conditioners and other appliances
- Welding process
- Gas stoves
According to the environment protection agency, smoke contains more than 7000 substances. The smoke can cause cough, burning eyes, stuffy nose, and lung cancer also. The most harmful smoke is tobacco smoke released from the cigarette.
The cigarette smoke contains nearly 5000 toxins that make tobacco some. The cigarette is the most toxic pollutant in indoor air. If you smoke a cigarette then it is very harmful to you and your children. Your children have a higher chance of asthma.
Sources of Smoke
- Wood burning
- Fireplace near your home
- Industrial area
- Secondhand smoke
- Cooking devices (wood-burning stoves)
There are many indoor pollutants and their solution. Keep your hose clean follow the WHO or EPA guidelines to keep your indoor air clean. You can easily reduce the indoor air pollutants and their sources.
You can read our blog on how to improve indoor air quality to learn more. Avoid smoking, maintain your appliances, use paint with zero VOCs these are small tips that you should apply for better air quality.