COVID-19 isn’t the only thing people have to worry about. According to the latest World Bank data, over 91 percent of the world population is exposed to unhealthy levels of pollution. This is measured by how much fine particulate matter people in each country may inhale.
Indoor Pollutants Wreak Havoc
Fine particulate matter is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers, which is why it’s also known as PM2.5. This can come from vehicle emissions, power plant emissions, and other industrial sources. People living in South Asian, Middle Eastern and North African countries have the highest risk of inhaling unhealthy levels of air pollution. And although a lot of it comes from outdoors, where cars and power plants exhaust pollutants, you can’t escape it indoors.
According to a recent study published in the Science of Total Environment, different types of pollutants can be found indoors. These include fungal spores, paint chemicals, smoke, varnishes, and more. These pollutants can come from a variety of household tasks, from cooking to improper storage of goods. The author’s previous work even found that buildings and homes near traffic intersections had higher indoor pollution levels compared to properties located in other places.
Indoor pollution is such a problem for a lot of countries that the term “sick building syndrome” was created. This encompasses the many nonspecific symptoms that building occupants feel when they’re in a certain building. Multiple studies have found that it’s linked to absenteeism and productivity decline in workers.
If the effects of indoor pollution can cause sickness in adult workers, they could be especially intense for young children. As such, you need to minimize pollution inside your home.
But where should you start?
Do Regular General Cleaning
Cleaning your home doesn’t just improve the way it looks and smells, but it can also enhance air quality. You should focus your cleaning routine on reducing dust, pet dander and mold.
• Declutter — Do you have stacks of boxes or stuff you don’t use anymore? It’s best to get rid of them. They gather and trap dust, and even mold, which can trigger allergic reactions. ;
• Keep your fabrics clean — Fabrics like rugs, curtains, beddings, pillowcases, comforters, and more can attract and hold dust, pet dander, and other allergens. If these are starting to get dusty, give them a thorough cleaning in the washing machine. ;
• Do some thorough sweeping — Dust settles on floors quite fast, especially if you have multiple people who go in and out of the home every day. If you have flat flooring, like exotic engineered hardwood, daily sweeping should get rid of most of the dust and pet dander. If you have carpeted floors, however, you’ll need a good vacuum cleaner with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
Let Fresh Air Inside
If you’re engaging in activities that create pollutants, like cooking, soldering or welding, painting, and more, you need to let their fumes out and let fresh air in. An effective way to do this is to just open your doors and windows.
If you have exhaust fans in the room you’re doing the activity in, turn them on, too. If the weather permits it, do the activity outdoors to ensure nobody’s breathing the pollutants you’re creating inside the home. Plus, you get the benefit of natural air circulation.
Clean or Replace Your Air Filters
Some heating and cooling systems force air from outside into your home. You don’t have to worry about outdoor pollutants getting into your house because they have electrostatic filters. They capture airborne irritants and dust. When these filters get filled with dust, however, they’ll get ineffective.
If your filters are washable, you can take them off, use a hose to clean off the dirt and dust with a hose, and let them dry before putting them back. If they’re washable or too dirty, you should definitely get them replaced. New filters are available on Amazon or your nearest home improvement or hardware store.
Use an Air Purifier
If you want to be sure that your home has minimal air pollution, invest in an air purifier. These devices contain multiple fans and filters that let polluted air in and fresh air out. These systems also sanitize the air, minimizing the chances of you breathing in airborne bacteria and viruses. Air purifiers have different capacities, so you should get one that can cover the size of the room you want to put it in.
High levels of air pollution can cause mild to severe health complications. Apart from being abundant outdoors through vehicle and building exhaust, it’s also present indoors through particles created by cookstoves, paint, cigarette smoke, and more. Use these suggestions to minimize air pollution and have a safer and healthier home.
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