The health issues associated with indoor air pollution is generally similar to that of environmental pollution. How people react to the pollutants depends on many factors. Young children and older adults tend to be more susceptible to the harmful effects of pollution, due to their weaker immune system. The length of exposure, type and intensity of the pollution can also make some of the health issues worse.
In a twenty-year study conducted by scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway, it was concluded that frequent exposure to cleaning products could cause harm similar to that of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Women who cleaned professionally or as part of their responsibility at home have the most rapid decline in lung function over the period of the study.
The immediate effects tend to be transient. These effects tend to sort itself out as long as you’re not in the physical space. The effects include eye, nose and throat irritation, such as:
- Watery eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory congestion
More severe short-term effects include:
- Bronchitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial tubes in the lungs)
- Pneumonia (lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection)
- Conjunctival (eye) irritation
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat and sometimes shortness of breath)
- Headache or dizziness
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weight gain
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
- Memory loss
Long-term exposure to indoor pollution may result in health problems that may last for years or even for a lifetime. These detrimental health issues include:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Emphysema (breathlessness due to enlarged and damaged air sacs in the lungs)
- Nerve brain, kidneys, liver, and other organ damage
- Congenital disabilities
Indoor air quality is important too
Outdoor pollution gets a great deal attention, partly because its effects are more pronounced and observable. However, recognising the threats of indoor pollution is equally important. After all, as city dwellers, we spend more time indoors than out. With indoor pollution being more severe than outdoor pollution, it’s time we take steps to reduce our exposure and restore our respiratory health.
We’ll be sharing tips on how to minimise indoor air pollution at home soon. Like our Facebook page to receive updates on our latest posts!