Indoor Air Pollution

by kaylagallion
Last updated 7 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Grade:
12

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Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor Air Pollution

A Deadly Menace

Asbestos, Radon, Carbon Monoxide, and Sick Building SyndromeAll of the causes listed above and left contain or give off pollutants, making the air you breathe indoors unclean. On top of all that, some older houses contain asbestos or are built on bedrock containing radon. Both of these things can very easily cause sickness and death to inhabitats. Mercury vapor and airborne lead can be found in the air due to all of the causes so far as well. The scariest pollutant is probably carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless asphyxiant and can go undetected until it sickens or kills those breathing it. Buildings extremely affected by any of these are said to have "Sick Building Syndrome," meaning the building itself is contaminated and causing extreme health problems for the people inside.

Causes: ......................................................................................Tobacco smoke, wire coatings, sealants, floor finishes, paints, bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses, mites, pollen, roaches, pet dander, woodstoves, gas-burning products, fireplaces, varnishes, hobby and cleaning products, pesticides, etc...............................................................................................

Not all people realize it, but air pollution can exist just as much indoors as it does outside. People in industrial nations spend more than 90% of their time indoors, and homes, schools, and workplaces can be extremely contaminated. The effects of this can be terribly devastating, but fortunately, there are several solutions to this growing problem.

Fortunately, the frightening problems of indoor air pollution can be solved. Plants, purifying air cleaners, and keeping ducts clean can all help, depending on the type of pollutant in the home. However, the main way to protect yourself from pollutants is to keep your house well ventilated. Pollutants must be given a way to escape once they enter, so opening windows as often as possible is important, as well as using vents that pull in and send out air from the outdoors rather than recirculating stale air. It is also important to either replace any appliances fueled by gas or oil or at least make sure to operate them properly. Buy a carbon monoxide detector, and check for leaks in any pipes or appliances. Maintain humidity at or below 50%, keep carpets clean and dry or get hardwood floors, and use cleaning products without harsh chemicals and dispose of them properly.

Health Problems Attributed to Indoor Air PollutionThere are several health problems caused by indoor air pollution. Immediate effects include breathing problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and asthma attacks. Air Pollution raises the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, and may even cause the lungs and hearts of young children to become underdeveloped. More serious pollutants such as asbestos and carbon monoxide can cause extreme fatigue, hospitalization, and even premature death, because they raise the levels of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. Lung function is usually diminished by all types of pollutants, and the risk of diseases like cancer can grow drastically. Infants, children, and teens are especially susceptible, as are those who have preexisting medical conditions, those who are 65 or older, those who live in cities or near highways, and those who do not ventilate their homes properly.

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