Thursday, August 11

Studies Show Indoor Pollution Deadlier Than Outdoor Pollution

Pollution has certainly been a major cause of concern across the globe for centuries. Air pollution is even slated as the single biggest environmental threat to human lives. Thanks to some new research, however, our focus should perhaps shy away from outdoor pollution and address indoor air pollution more.


According to the World Health Organization, it’s estimated that 3.3 million deaths per year are attributed to indoor air pollution across the globe. Ranging form preventable respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, smoking, poor air quality, and even household products are leading to millions of pollution-related fatalities.


Additionally, nearly one-third of all the cardiovascular diseases across the world are related to indoor air (17%) and outdoor air (13%) pollution.


The Guardian reports that researchers from the U.S. have been looking at volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in roadside air in Los Angeles and found that as much VOCs came from industrial and household products as they did from vehicle exhaust pipes. Their work was published in the journal, Science.


Household cleaning products, paint cans, and even perfume bottles have become substantial sources of indoor air pollution and it’s becoming a serious and delay issue.


“This is about all those bottles and containers in your kitchen cabinet below the sink and in the bathroom,” said Joost de Gouw, an author of the indoor air pollution study from the University of Colorado in Boulder. “It’s things like cleaners, personal products, paints and glues. When you think about how much of those products you use in your daily life, it doesn’t compare to how much fuel you put in the car. But for every kilogram of fuel that is burned, only about one gram ends up in the air. For these household and personal products, some compounds evaporate almost completely.”


Another report titled Preventing Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) by Reducing Environmental Risk Factors, stated that across the globe, 23% of all deaths could be prevented by inducing healthier environments.


Considering that most people spend about 90% of their time indoors, guidelines likely aren’t enough to significantly improve the indoor pollution issue. The study evokes that legislation and further education is needed in order to actually control the air quality indoors across the country and the world.

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