The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Remembering Indoor Air Pollution
Right now, we are hearing a lot about clean air and the environment. Just a few days ago, the world celebrated Air Quality Awareness Week in which people raised awareness about the dangers of air pollution. Moreover, it seems as though every other news station is talking about climate change and global warming. These pressing issues have a global effect, and it can be hard to make a visible difference. With all of the focus being on outdoor air pollution, many people are casting aside the importance of indoor air quality. Opposite of outdoor air pollution, it is easy for you to make a major difference in the quality of the air in your home or workplace.
The Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
Surprisingly, indoor air actually poses more health risk than outdoor air. This is because—no matter how active you are—humans spend more time indoors and in your own home. On average, individuals spend about 90 percent of their lives indoors. Given that the quality of indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, that’s a lot of time spent in a poor environment.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a number of detrimental health effects including heart problems, strokes, allergies, asthma and chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). In fact, 34 percent of indoor air pollution-caused deaths are from strokes and 22 percent of indoor air pollution-caused deaths are from COPD.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found that indoor air pollution is a problem for people all over the world in every type of home. Whether you live in a dense urban city or a sprawling rural town, your home can be a pool for air pollution particles. The most common causes of indoor air pollution follow:
- Combustion sources: tobacco smoke, gas, oil, space heaters, ovens, ranges, furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces;
- Chemical products: cleaning supplies, personal care products, glues and pastes;
- Outdoor sources: radon, pesticides, pollen and infiltrating outdoor pollution;
- Building materials: carpet, cabinetry, insulation and construction;
- Allergens: dust mites, pet dander, molds and viruses.
How to Improve your Indoor Air Quality
The first steps in improving your indoor air quality are to acknowledge the dangers of indoor air pollution and to actively work to improve your surroundings. Here are a few tips to help clean improve the air in your home:
Dust, Vacuum and Mop: Keeping a clean home is essential to a better indoor air quality. Regularly dust off the surfaces in your home. By clearing your floors and vacuuming often with a high-quality vacuum cleaner, you can limit the amount of dust build up in your home. Try to mop your floors at least twice a month, but be sure to use non-chemical-based cleaners.
Quit Smoking: Tobacco smoke is one of the number one pollutants found indoors. While some states have instituted laws to prevent smoking in public places, there is still a huge lapse in high-quality, smoke-free indoor air. Other than eliminating smoking in your home, try to frequent locations that don’t offer indoor smoking.
Cut the Humidity: Humidity is dust and mold’s playground. Add a de-humidifier to your home; keep your exhaust fan running when you are cooking; and always fix any leaks immediately, so you can prevent mold growth.
Test for Radon: It feels as if radon is all over the Internet lately. Radon is a radioactive gas that can be in the ground naturally. It can contribute to a variety of lung conditions. By purchasing a radon test at your local hardware store, you can be sure your home is radon free.
Kick the Chemicals: In the average household, there are over 60 hazardous products and chemicals used and stored. Think home cleaners and hair products. Try to purchase chemical-free cleaners and fragrance-free personal hygiene products to limit the number of irritants you release in your home.
Purify the Air: Indoor plants such as ferns, spider plants and aloe vera can help purify the air in your home. As these plants take in the polluted air and carbon dioxide, they emit oxygen. If you lack a green thumb, there are a variety of air purifying machines that can help you improve your indoor air quality.
Protecting the Air Around You
Changing your habits and protecting the air around you can make a huge difference in your ability to breathe. If you suffer from a chronic lung disease, better indoor air quality could be the start of your journey to breathing easier. To continue on your path to a better quality of life, stem cell therapy may be able to help. For more information, contact the Lung Institute at (800) 729-3065.