Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Worried about the outdoor pollution, but do you know about the indoor pollution, that is hurting you, inside your own home?

Pollution is a major killer & till date, we have mostly focused on the outdoor pollutants that come from Vehicular traffic, power plants, construction debris, etc., in the form of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), i.e. PM 1, PM2.5, PM10,  Benzene, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulpher Dioxide (SO2), Ozone (O3), Heavy metals (Lead & Mercury), as well Volatile organic compounds (VOC), etc. 
But today, we will talk about the Enemy inside your house, i.e. the indoor pollutants in your home, which are also the serious cause of concern, as they too are the silent killers. These indoor pollutants include the Volatile organic compounds that come from your wall paints, as well the bio-aerosols, Nitrous oxides from the cooking gas in your kitchen, and so on. Please watch the Indoor Air Quality & Indoor Pollution video embedded below, that shows 5 areas of concern.

The above Air Advice for homes, clearly shows the status of various danger levels, inside your home, i.e. 

Danger level 5 - Carbon Monoxide, low level causes mild health effects such as Headaches, Dizziness, Disorientation, Nausea, Fatigue, while high level can be Fatal; 

Danger level 4 - Microbial Growth, i.e. Microorganisms, Mold, Fungal spores, causes Allergies, Sinus & Respiratory infections as well as Infertility;

Danger level 3 Allergens & Particulates, i.e. Dust, Pollen, Pet dander, Insect debris & Smoke, causes Nose & Throat irritation, Congestion, Sneezing, Coughing & Asthma;

Danger level 2 - Infectious illness, i.e. Bacteria, Viruses, Germs, Cold, Flu, Airborne illnesses & Microorganisms; 

Danger level 1 - Contaminants, Toxic compounds, Building material, Furniture, Carpets, Paints, Cleaning chemicals, and so on, along with other pollutants as above, may be the cause of serious health hazards such as Cancer, Asthma, as well a Stroke. 

The risk of indoor pollution has increased manifolds due to the massive use of  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), in the buildings, painting of walls, as well varnishes used inside. Please view the video embedded below to understand, what are the Volatile Organic Compounds.

Various opinions on the Indoor pollution :
1A. If you check the World Health Organization (WHO) Key facts on the indoor pollution, you will be shocked, as it says that over   People die every year from the exposure to indoor & household air pollution. # More than 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter inhaled from household air pollution. # 3.8 million premature deaths annually from noncommunicable diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are attributed to exposure to household air pollution. 
1B. In yet another study, World Health Organisation (WHO) said,  # Ambient and household air pollution caused, respectively, 2.8 & 3.7 million NCD deaths from ischaemic heart disease (IHD), stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer in 2012.  Globally, 29% of COPD deaths are attributed to household air pollution, 8% ambient and 11% workplaces. Reducing air pollution from transport, energy generation, and industrial emissions; and exposures to ionizing and UV radiation, and chemicals, such as solvents, pesticides, asbestos, and formaldehyde, can prevent lung and other cancers. Workers in certain occupations are at particular risk.

2. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, “Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products.Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored”.
3. Tina Porwal, in her Abstract, “Paint Pollution Harmful Effects on Environment”, has said, that “Paint generally include pigment (the color), carried by a resin and/or binder, a solvent to help the paint application, and a dryer. In vinyl and acrylic paints they will also include plastics compounds. Some will include formaldehyde, arsenic, thinners, and foam makers”.

She continues,"Every year we like to paint our home, furniture, etc., for decoration, protection, identification, sanitation. But we forget the impact of paint on our environment. This can cause some serious hazardous effect on our body like headaches, trigger allergies, asthmatic reactions, irritate skin, eyes, and put increased stress on vital organs such as heart and not only paints but also its byproducts or by which paint creates are also more dangerous to us and our environment".

Please note, University of Chicago, in its recent report, has mentioned that "National Capital Region residents are losing out on almost 6 years of life because of the dangerous air pollution levels. If WHO standards were met in NCR, people would live 9 years longer. In Kolkata and Mumbai better air quality would translate into almost 3.5 years longer life spans". The report says,"4.6 billion life years would be added in the country by complying with WHO standards". Hindustan Times Delhi covered this news very significantly:

With thanks to various sources, named in the blog post above.

B S Vohra 

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