Dhruv Bhatnagar, CEO, DB Life Sciences, writes on the importance of indoor air quality and offers solutions to improve it.
Air pollution is highly detrimental to our health but most people are unaware that this includes both outdoor and indoor air. Air is something we share in common with every person in the world. Till the time we are alive, we all are breathing. Hence, it is important for us to take action to consume good quality air. Usually, the quality of outdoor air is not in our control but we can remedy the air inside.
As we spend a significant amount of time indoors – either at home, in the office or any other type of building – the kind of air we breathe in has a huge impact on our health. When it is polluted due to the presence of harmful gases, dust, chemicals and other pollutants, it can cause eye irritation, headaches, allergies, fatigue and even serious health ailments like asthma. Thus, it is equally essential that along with purifying the air outside, we take steps to purify the air within our homes.
Why Indoor Air Quality is Important
The air inside tends to be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. And there are many sources contributing to the poor air quality inside such as pollutants like NO2, ozone, particulate matter, etc, which easily enter our homes from outside. In addition, the smoke generated by cooking on stoves or using dirty solid fuels like coal, charcoal, cow dung, etc gets accumulated indoors if the house lacks ventilation. On top of that, ozone can react with materials found inside our homes, creating a mixture of air pollutants.
The indoor air needs to be replaced by the clean outdoor air more often or else the former becomes highly polluted and harmful. This happens because the allergens, pollutants and foul smells remain in our home and recirculate in the air. Especially, since the newer energy-efficient homes do not have the same cracks and gaps as the older houses, there is less circulation of air taking place. Hence, while the air outdoors is an issue, the air present inside our homes, where we spend most of our time, has additional pollutants in it.
Possible Solutions for Improving Indoor Air Quality
Very often, poorly installed or outdated insulation releases flame retardants and chemicals containing extremely high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs are mainly chemicals that are carbon-based and can change into gaseous or vapour forms with ease, such as formaldehyde. Hence, one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of indoor air is to replace the insulation.
Additionally, installing a good ventilation system in our homes will help reduce the pollutant levels as well as improve the humidity levels. Moreover, to deal with the dust particles suspended in the air inside, liquid-based anti-pollution products can also be used as an effective solution. Spraying these products creates a coating on the floor or whichever surface they are used on that helps trap harmful dust particles and prevent them from rising in the air again. Regular use of these liquid-based anti-pollution products eventually eliminate the pollutants and other harmful particles from our homes.
Knowing well that poor indoor air quality can negatively impact our health, it is imperative that we assess the current state of our homes from time to time. By making strides towards purifying the air inside, we take a step towards making our surroundings healthy and safe for us and our loved ones. Even if we feel that the air inside may not be as polluted, it would help to get an energy audit done to put our minds at ease.