How Simple Household Activities Generate Indoor Air Pollution

Written by: Yuvika Iyer

Published on: Nov 22, 2019

How Simple Household Activities Generate Indoor Air Pollution

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In our fast-paced lives, seldom do we pause to think about having a hearty breakfast. Many times, breakfast is a quickly tossed up smoothie or maybe toast with eggs. Waffles or bacon get space on the menu if you have a couple of extra minutes. What if I told you that the simple act of making breakfast every day plays a significant role in making our indoor air more toxic.

It seems crazy, isn’t it?

That’s what I thought when I read the recent research from the University of Colorado, Boulder. The University researchers found that many household acts are significant contributors to air pollution.

Household Activities Contribute to Air Pollution

When we talk of air pollution, you may instantly think of large polluting factories or toxic fumes from the hundreds of vehicles on our roads. The presence of indoor air pollution conveniently gets missed from the equation.

To study the effect of everyday household activities, these researchers conducted them in a controlled environment. Advanced camera and air quality monitoring devices were used to track the impact of the activities on indoor air quality in a 1200 square feet apartment. They monitored the movements for more than 30 days.

They were surprised to find that many activities ended up causing high enough pollution to be easily measured by the air quality devices. They had to recalibrate their instruments as they had kept a lower estimate for the pollution levels.

Role of Adequate Ventilation and Correct Usage

They also found that adequate ventilation was a considerable factor in disseminating the effect of air pollution generated from the activities.

So, if you are boiling water, keeping the kitchen exhaust running or opening a window can help with releasing the pollution away into the environment rather than accumulating in the house. The release of airborne chemicals tends to spread into other rooms and outdoor settings.

Using household chemicals such as perfumes, deodorants, and cleaning liquids also ended up releasing gaseous pollutants into the air. They escape from their storage bottles and increase the level of volatile organic compounds in the air that increasing the ozone-causing toxic air quality.

There are quite a lot of initiatives being taken to reduce pollution from traditional sources such as industrial production facilities or vehicles. Introduction of greener fuels, electric driven cars and improved production processes are being implemented to control the spread of outdoor air pollution. US Environment Protection Agency is playing a significant role to monitor the ozone layer and making everyone aware of the measures to control outdoor air pollution.

You will be surprised to find toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde or compounds such as ketones and alcohol emanating from homes due to household activities and usage of consumer products. With pollution being generated inside the houses, we need to think of ways to control it to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Controlling the usage and spread of chemicals in the air is more straightforward than we think. If we can make simple lifestyle changes, we can certainly control the spread of this human-made problem. Simple steps like using fewer chemical products at home, opting for natural products or home remedies can help us lead a sustainable lifestyle and keep our air pure and fresh.

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