Everyone is worried about pollution, and for good reason. No pollution – air polluion, water pollution, or land pollution – has any positive effect on our environment and contributes to many health problems including breast cancer. About 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter. Much of the rest are incinerated while releasing chemicals into the air. And others end up in the ocean where they slowly disintegrate into our water. But even with all of the outside air pollution, it is the indoor air pollution that is causing roughly 50% of illnesses globally.
Indoor air pollution is extremely overlooked, with things indoors being a large portion for the causes of pollution. Ebenezer Fiahagbe, a Senior Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says that indoor air pollution is sits at the top of environmental risks resulting in a health decline, with 8.5 million deaths occurring globally from the indoor air pollution.
People often think of car exhaust, factory smog, plastics and other supplies filling landfills, and tobacco smoke to be some of the main causes of pollution. While it may be true that all of these things don’t help the environment, there is some research showing that many of the main causes of pollution, as people view them, actually have gotten better over the past couple decades. It would take 20 of today’s cars to release the same number of emissions as cars in the 1960’s. Americans have also reduced toxic releases by over 50 million tons since 1970.
The Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Even with the outdoor air pollution, it should be known that indoors is where much of the danger is. Most of people’s time is spent indoors. What’s more, most people’s indoors are close-together walls, and small spaces. While spending the majority of time indoors in a small space, there are tons of things around us in that same small space that are finding ways into our bodies and therefore compromising our health. All of the things listed below contain toxic chemicals which are primary causes of indoor air pollution.
- Carpets – Contains toxic chemicals such as glue and dyes which emit VOC’s
- Paints – Emits VOC’s, formaldehyde, benzene, and other harmful chemicals. Lead paints especially contribute to air pollution as they release harmful lead particles. The U.S. government declared lead paints to be the greatest environmental threat to children in 1991.
- Air fresheners
The reason for so many people feel congested and experience headaches, running noses, watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes or throat, dizziness, and vertigo has a lot to do with indoor air pollution. While you’re cooped up the majority of your day indoors while surrounded by walls, you are sitting in an extremely small area with tons of pollutants attacking your body. The problem with non-organic cleaning agents is that they contain so many toxic chemicals which are being sprayed into the air.
What You Can Do to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
- Fill your home with live plants
- Open your windows
- Take your shoes off upon entering your home
- Don’t allow smoking
- Buy an air purifier
- Avoid non-stick cookware
- Opt for hardwood flooring instead of carpets