In the United States, the majority of time is spent indoors -- around 87% to be exact. Buildings and what is inside them often emit harmful particulate matter and gases. In short, indoor air pollution has the potential to be highly hazardous to human health.
There are many sources of indoor air pollution including, but not limited to, the following:
|Sources of Indoor Air Pollution||Examples/Derivations|
|Building Materials||Asbestos, formaldehyde from upholstery and carpeting, and off-gassing from particleboard, plywood, drywall, and plastics can all produce harmful air pollutants.|
|Pesticides||When used or stored indoors, pesticides can create air hazards.|
|Biologicals||Mold that has been trapped inside or is growing from water damage can produce toxins, while dust mites, fungal spores, and pet hair all produce air pollutants as well.|
|Combustibles||Combustibles from heating systems, such as fireplaces, gas heaters, and stoves, as well as kerosene heaters, are all culprits.|
|Radon||This naturally-occurring radioactive gas can be hazardous.|
|Lead dust||Lead dust can occur from paint and is an indoor air pollutant.|
|Ozone||Ozone from copying machines can be an indoor air pollutant as well.|
|Miscellaneous||This grouping includes grills, car exhaust, secondhand smoke, paints, and cleaning products.|
Consider a few important facts about indoor air pollution sources:
Because people spend 87% -- the vast majority -- of their time indoors around air pollutants, the risks from exposure to indoor air pollutants could be greater than their outdoor counterparts.
Immediate effects of indoor air pollution can be eye and nose irritation and even dizziness, while long-term effects can be damage to organs and tissues, visual impairment, and even cancer.
There are efforts that can be made to improve the impacts of indoor air pollution, such as:
Source: Adapted from Sophia instructor Jensen Morgan