By Awais Bhatti
Increasing air pollution across the urban centers of the world is amplifying the health risks; moreover, the presence of air pollutants in the atmosphere is also threatening the biodiversity of our planet. The increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are gradually polluting the air of our ecosystem and shrinking the space for fresh air.
Every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) releases advisories and jot down preventive measures for the people vulnerable to air pollution so that hazardous impacts of air pollution can be diminished.
It is a common occurrence that when ambient (outdoor) air pollution reaches hazardous levels people tend to stay indoors, however, the major focus on ambient (outdoor) air pollution somehow downplays the importance of indoor air quality. The maintenance of indoor air quality can offset the negative impacts of air pollution.
Moreover, for healthy lifestyle maintenance of indoor air quality should be mainstreamed along with the maintenance of homes.
Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pertains to the air quality in the surroundings and insides of the building which has a direct impact on the health of occupants. If the indoor air quality is not paid due attention, its impacts can be experienced in the form of immediate and long-term effects.
The immediate impacts of IAQ can be observed in the form of headaches, irritation of the eyes, fatigue, and digestion. Initially, these health-related issues do not pose major health risks however, if gone untreated can be a reason behind major health consequences. A simple cure to the immediate impacts of exposure to bad indoor air is to avoid exposure.
Similarly, the manifestations of IAQ can also be observed in the form of long-term effects. In case of long and repeated exposure to unhealthy individuals can suffer from respiratory diseases and also cardiac diseases. Therefore, maintenance of indoor air quality is one of the important aspects of home maintenance.
Moreover, these diseases vary from human to human and there is no defined quantity of exposure that can raise health-related issues.
Some major air pollutants
It is important to identify certain pollutants that become a major cause of air pollution. Inside households, there are a variety of harmful air pollutants which an individual is exposed to knowingly or unknowingly. Most of the indoor air pollutants are emitted from stoves, certain pollutants are also present in the form of asbestos which are used in construction and for insulation purposes.
Similarly, biological air pollutants decrease the indoor air quality in homes. The biological pollutants can be viruses, bacteria, and dander of pets. Moreover, polluted vents of heating and ventilation systems are also one of the major air pollutants and can pose serious health-related risks.
In the light of the above-mentioned discussion, Graana.com brings forth the different procedures or methods through which IAQ can be maintained.
For a long-lasting and durable solution, it is important to identify the major sources of pollutants. As mentioned earlier, apart from the impact of ambient (outdoor) pollution on indoor air quality there are certain elements present inside the houses which contribute to indoor air pollution.
The pollutants can be present in the form of Carbon Monoxide (CO), the major CO emitters in the home can be burning stoves, boilers, and central heating systems. Similarly, asbestos is found in insulation, vinyl tiles, and sometimes in paints. Similarly, lead is present in the paints which not only hampers the indoor air quality but also affects health in diverse ways.
Likewise, biological contaminants like mold and viruses also contaminate the indoor air quality which can be present in central cooling and heating systems. Thus, to maintain the indoor air quality it is necessary to eradicate the problem from the root.
Home ventilation systems are the primary source of maintaining the indoor air quality in homes. Architects pay special focus on ventilation while designing home ventilation systems to channelize the fresh air inside the homes from outside.
Therefore, to have better indoor air quality homes while construction should have proper ventilation channels to maintain the indoor air quality. Moreover, many houses are equipped with exhaust ventilation systems, the exhaust ventilation systems work by decreasing the indoor air pressure in comparison to the outdoors.
One of the demerits of exhaust ventilation systems is that it draws air pollutants from outdoors. Thus to maintain indoor air quality, a special focus should be given to the installed ventilation systems.
Maintenance through plants
Another method that can prove useful for maintaining IAQ is plant-based indoor air purification. This one of the most convenient methods that can easily be installed in each household with a little effort. Plant-based air purification involves planting houseplants that act as a purifier against various contaminants in the air.
Indoor air purification through plants is more sustainable, cheaper, and has almost zero maintenance cost as compared to the other methods of IAQ maintenance. Some common plants being used for maintaining Indoor Air Quality includes Money Plant, Spider Plant, and Broad lady palm.
Using air purifiers
If all the above-mentioned methods do not prove useful for maintaining indoor air quality then one of the productive methods is to install the air purifiers in the home. Air purifiers have great efficacy in those areas where ambient air quality has reached toxic levels.
Air purifiers are composed of various filters that circulate the indoor air and trap pollutants, pet dander, smoke, and dust, and then release the filtered air in the room. One thing that is pertinent to mention here that air purifiers require their filters to be changed after their due date. Moreover, one of the demerits of air purifiers is that it does not filter the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the air.
Availing testing services
IAQ testing services can also be availed for maintaining the fresh air indoors. To get a complete idea of IAQ, an indoor air testing service is the most convenient method to have an initial idea about indoor air quality.
Moreover, the indoor air quality services will enable an individual to have an idea about the major indoor air contaminants which can be traced and eradicated through IAQ testing services.
Awais Bhatti is a content specialist at Graana.com.