5 Top Ways to Reduce the Impact of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution is one of the greatest environmental dangers of the 21st century. According to the World Health Organization, more than 7 million people die each year due to the adverse impacts of air pollution on respiratory, cardiovascular and neurovascular systems. Recent studies have also found that the indoor air pollution can also have devastating impacts on mental well-being, ranging from mood disorders to neurodegenerative diseases. Let us explore how we can reduce our exposure to indoor air pollution, thus avoiding physical health and mental well-being issues:

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1. Natural Ventilation

It is the best way to allow fresh air into indoor living spaces. Natural ventilation allows replacement of stale air with fresh air, thus helping to control room temperature, replenish oxygen, remove maldors and harmful airborne pollutants, and expelling carbon dioxide.

Short-term indoor activities, like painting, welding, soldering or sanding, have the potential to generate high levels of toxic pollutants which may persist in the air over a long period of time unless ventilation systems are used. Harmful indoor pollutants, such as formaldehyde and radon, can contribute to building-related illnesses commonly known as the sick building syndrome. It is essential to have a proper design of the ventilation system in order to provide indoor air free from pollutants.

2. Air Cleaners

An air cleaner improves the indoor air quality by removing pollutants from the air in a confined space, especially particle pollution. Air purifiers can effectively remove the common indoor air pollutants such as malodors, smoke, dirt and pet dander. The filter in the clean air captures the pollutants while the clean air is introduced into the room using the in-built fan. The filters are made up of paper, fiberglass or mesh, and require periodic cleaning and replacement.

3. Dehumidifiers

Humidity has a major influence on indoor air quality. High levels of humidity encourage the growth of mold, dust mites, pollen and bacteria, besides increasing the concentration of VOCs. The purpose of a dehumidifier is to reduce the moisture level (between 35 to 50%), thus improving indoor air quality.

Using a fan, the dehumidifier draws warm air currents into its coils which contracts as it is fed through the refrigerated. The condensation is left inside the dehumidifier and falls into the storage tank while the dried air is released back into the room.

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4. Houseplants

Plants have effective air cleaning qualities and absorbs air pollutants, thus acting as a natural air purifier that is both cost-effective and therapeutic.  Houseplants trap harmful toxins and remove common chemical compounds, such as formaldehyde, benzene and Trichlorothylene. Some of the popular air-purifying indoor plants include are rubber tree, spider plant, snake plant, weeping fig and peace lily.

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5. Therapeutic Methods

The mental health issues associated with indoor air pollution can be tackled by therapeutic tools. Environmental therapy aims to treat environment-related health problems by strengthening the connection between the environment and its elements. The popular nature-based therapy activities are nature meditation, horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy and nature conservation tasks.

Light therapy is an emerging therapy which involves the use of an artificial source of light to treat depressive disorders with seasonal patterns, sleep issues and other types of depression. The patient sits near a device called light therapy box which gives off bright light that mimics the natural light. It is believed that light therapy has a positive impact on brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, thus easing depressive disorders. Light therapy is also known as phytotherapy.

Bottom Line

Indoor air pollution is responsible for a wide range of physical and mental health issues. To mitigate the harmful impacts of air pollution, you can improve natural ventilation, use air purifiers, dehumidifiers and houseplants in your premises, and opt for therapeutic treatment tools.

Air Pollution and its Invisible Danger – What You Need to Know

If you’ve been observing the ongoing and high-profile protests from Extinction Rebellion over the course of the last few years, you’ll be aware that air pollution offers a significant threat to the human population.

This is supported by the statistics, which have revealed that almost a quarter of the people in the UK have been exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution with potentially devastating health consequences.

More specifically, a study by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that about 15 million in the UK live in areas where the average levels of the toxic particle PM2.5 exceeds the World Health Foundation’s guidelines. But what do you need to know about this invisible danger?

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What is Air Pollution and How is it Caused?

In simple terms, air pollution is defined as the presence of substances in the natural atmosphere that may be harmful to the health of humans and other living beings.

Air pollution may also cause long standing damage to the climate or individual materials, while there are different types of air pollutants including particulates, gases and biological molecules.

Historically, the history of air pollution can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, as developed nations such as the UK began to leverage fossil fuels such as coal to drive economic growth and expansion.

As a result of this, large and industrialised nations have produced high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide for a range of domestic and industrial purposes, creating an omni-present threat to clean air and one that has worsened incrementally over time.

Substances such as nitrogen oxide are also impactful in this regard, with this produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen in their air during combustion.

The threat of this has become increasingly prominent in highly congested areas packed with high motor vehicle traffic, creating a huge and growing pollution challenge.

Health Impact of Pollution and the Reaction of Governments

According to the WHO, air pollution contributes to an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally, with conditions such as heart disease, stroke, acute respiratory infections and lung cancer.

Interestingly, worldwide ambient air pollution accounts for 29% of all deaths and disease that involve lung cancer, along with 25% of similar cases related to ischaemic heart disease.

Incredibly, air pollution also contributes to 43% of all deaths and diseases that arise from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes significant breathing difficulties and long-term inflammation within the lungs.

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Fortunately, countries across the globe are beginning to take steps to tackle air pollution, even serial offenders like China. Here, the government is taking direct action to clean up smog-choked skies from years of relentless industrial expansion, primarily by investing $83.4 billion in the renewable energy sector in 2019.

Nations like China are also drawing on innovation and technological advancement, with firms such as ERG Air Pollution Control providing various tools and measures to help tackle air pollution directly.

This includes everything from industrial gas cleaning services to comprehensive air pollution control systems, which help to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change without compromising on economic growth.