Most of us would not agree to the thought that there is something called as the ‘indoor pollution’. Not only this, you would even laugh away if anything like this is even suggested. Yes, you heard me correct, indoor pollution is just as bad as outdoor pollution. What most of us understand and believe is that pollution exists only outside of our homes. For you the definition of pollution covers just the visible part of pollution like smoke, smog and dust. It is true that all of us take preemptive and preventive steps to keep our homes clean of any pollutants. In our efforts to keep everything immaculate, we might call for occasional pest control, use copious quantities of a variety of disinfectants every day, engage in thorough dusting and mopping the floor. Nothing much beyond these regular tasks is ever undertaken or ever comes to our mind as far as keeping the indoors neat and clean is concerned. By complying with these mundane tasks, we think that we have done our job of getting rid of all pollutants. Actually, it is not so?
Let me ask you one pertinent question, did you ever suffer from sneezing, sore throat, cough, irritation in eyes, uneasiness, dizziness, nausea etc.? Well, more often than not these could be the symptoms of allergy due to compromised health conditions triggered by allergic reactions? Actually, allergy occurs due to reduced immunity caused by exposure to pollutants or allergens. Most households do not have proper ventilation of air and exposure to sunlight. There remains some dampness in the house that leads to proliferation of germs and insects. Therefore, proper care should be taken to disinfect the house. I have listed a few sources of pollution inside the homes. Probably you never considered them seriously and now that they have invaded your home, it is time to sit up and take preventive steps right now.
One of the most lethal chemicals that we use at our homes is in the form of synthetic paints that are apply on wooden doors and panels. Some inferior paints contain hazardous substance called lead. Studies have shown that lead is a possible carcinogen and has serious repercussions for the human nervous system. It may also cause kidney damage and reproductive disorders in both men and women. While, in children it is known to cause stunted growth as well as delayed development. Solvent based paints are equally bad, as they use some volatile organic compounds that cause headaches, nausea and giddiness.
We are in the habit of lighting incense stick early morning to keep our homes odourless. It is also used to keep insects and mosquitoes away. Little do we know that smoke and fumes from a burning incense stick contain a mixture of very fine pollutants that pose a grave health hazard that is even more toxic and harmful than cigarette smoke. The fumes from incense stick contain poly aromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls and benzene which are suspected to be possible carcinogens for humans. Therefore, you should restrict the use of incense stick only occasionally, may be during religious ceremonies and that too only in limited measure. Candles are made out of paraffin, a bye product of petroleum. On burning a candle produces soot that is carcinogenic. Over exposure to these fumes may cause headaches, nausea and dizziness. Also, the fumes from both the incense and candle can aggravate the symptoms of asthma. So, limit your exposure to candle and incense fumes in the interest of your health.
Most of us do not feel comfortable without applying deodorants and perfumes. You feel as if your personal care is incomplete without a perfect bath of copious spray of favorite deodorant. Some deodorants and perfumes contain very harmful chemicals such as phthalates and parabens that are known to cause congenital defects due to cell mutations in new born babies. So, think again if you are in a dire habit of generous use of these chemicals. Some bad quality stuff may cause skin irritation that can soon turn out to be your worst nightmare. Be careful of the spurious or counterfeit products that are so widespread and easily mistaken for the genuine ones. Even if you do use, apply only in moderation.
Fumes produced in our kitchen comprise spices, oil and many other ingredients. You might not believe that exposure or inhalation of these fumes may have a pernicious effect on your health including respiratory problems that might lead to cancers. This has been the conclusion of study done by International Agency for Research on Cancer. These fumes when analysed, have been found to contain carcinogenic as well as mutagenic compounds such as heterocyclic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Frying at high temperature produces undesirable compounds that cause obstruction in the air passage and can cause rhinitis, respiratory and pulmonary disorders. If you do not believe, check out the area around the exhaust fan installed in your kitchen. Do you now believe? It is in the interest of your health that you do avoid consuming foods that requires deep frying. You must install an electric chimney in your kitchen that sucks all the obnoxious fumes and throws them out of the home. Proper exhaust and ventilation is a must.
[ Also Read: Pollution – awareness is the first step towards curbing it ]
Dust permeates everything and is found everywhere including our homes no matter how tightly you shut the doors or windows. We need to do ‘dusting’ to get rid of dust that settles on almost everything like table top, sofa, kitchen slab, bed etc. Lock your home for a couple of days, what do you see upon your return? You find a fine layer of dust on almost everything!
Dust is not just dust only, it is actually a mix of particulate matter such as silica, unburnt carbon particles, pollen, hair, grains, fibre, asbestos, organic waste etc., everything that is a potential allergen. Common symptoms range from irritation in eyes and skin, running nose, cough and nausea. Long term exposure to dust may cause respiratory diseases, loss of immunity or even cancers.
Other things that cause, indoor pollution are substances like Formaldehyde, Asbestos, Chemical cleaners of various kinds. Most of the new products that you purchase such as foam, carpets, drapery, wooden products etc. have a coating of formaldehyde which evaporates and enters your nostrils and respiratory system.
Now do you think that Indoor pollution is just as bad as outdoor pollution?
Thoroughly engaging and informative!