Air pollution in your home: How to protect your family?

Air pollution in your home How to protect your family7 million people a year die due to air pollution- about half of the incidents are due to air pollution found in family homes or offices. Why does this happen and how can we prevent it?

Professor Adi Wolfson

The (WHO) Worldwide Health Organization announced last week that air pollution is one of the main causes of death in today’s society. As stated, approximately 7 million people a year die due to this issue, which is about 1 out of 8 people. The interesting factor about these statistics is that about half of these deaths are caused by indoor pollution rather than outdoor pollution; which means either from your own home or office, not from the streets as one would initially think. In other words, if you thought that you’re safer in your own home, think again.

The air we breathe is available to us for free, anywhere, and at any given time of day. Due to the fact that air is clear, scent-less, and has no face value, it is very difficult to know the real quality of the air we are taking in to our bodies. Just because we smell something bad or see a color we can’t immediately identify does not mean that it is immediately air pollution; however, at the same time, not every time there is no smell or color means that the air is clean.

The importance of this announcement is due to the fact that we are well informed about air pollution caused by automobiles and industrial areas; however, we are not well aware of the indoor air pollution, which is our responsibility and in our complete control. In addition, we cannot avoid the fact that the air circulation within a room is much smaller than an outdoors air circulation, which enhances our risks. (The average amount of time it takes for a room with an open window to fully circulate the air is about 2-3 hours; of course depending on the size of the room, window, and the speed of the wind.)

This is why the (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency ranked air pollution in buildings as one of the five leading causes of harm to the society’s health.

The leading causes to indoor pollution: Starting off with cigarette smoke, gas from the stove, or any heating device that works on gas, all consists of poisonous chemicals. A lot of bacteria is found in rugs, furniture, computers, etc. Many biological bacteria can be found in damp furniture in the house that can extract into the air due to high humidity in the home.

Such air pollution can cause a variety of health issues; anywhere from skin rashes, eye infections, head-aches, liver damage, cardiorespiratory and even cancer.

What is the solution? Awareness and action is the first step. It is important to make sure that there is good air circulation throughout the entire house (including each individual room) regardless of the season. Many times, homes with a central air conditioner take in the polluted air and rarely brings in clean air into the home. Adding plants to an office or home can also assist bringing clean air into the room and as natural filters also considering duct cleaning to make you hvac free of bacteria.