Indoor Air Pollution

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Indoor Air Pollution

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Indoor Air Pollution


Indoor Air Quality


Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air contains higher concentrations of pollutants than outdoor air (up to 70x)Indoor air pollution usually is a greater threat to human health than outdoor air pollution.Avg. U.S. citizen spends 90% of time indoors6,000 people die per day from indoor air pollution related health problems


Most dangerous indoor air pollutants

Cigarette smoke—leads to lung cancer & heart diseaseFormaldehyde—colorless, extremely irritating gas used to manufacture household materialsBuilding materials (plywood, paneling, high-gloss wood)Building Materials (6:43)FurnitureDrapes & upholsteryAdhesives in carpeting & wallpaperRadioactive Radon-222 gasProduced by the radioactive decay of uranium-238Exposes lungs to ionizing radiationSecond leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smokingRadon (2:06)Radon 2 (1:28)


Asbestos—especially in developing nationsSeveral different forms of silicate mineralsWidely used as a building material1989—EPA ordered a ban on remaining uses of asbestos by 1997Asbestos (2:16)Carbon monoxide—Faulty furnaces, stoves, fireplaces & Cigarette smokingCauses headache, heartbeat irregularity, & carboxyhemoglobinCarbon Monoxide (4:44)Organic materials—Dust mites, fungal spores, animal dander, hair, carpet fibersAllergies, coughs, sneezing, eye irritationBurning of wood, dung, & coal in open fires—developing nations

Most dangerous indoor air pollutants


Developed Countries

According to the EPA, the 4 most dangerous indoor air pollutants in developed countries are:Tobacco smokeFormaldehydeRadioactive radon-222 gasVery small fine & ultrafine particles


Developing Countries

Solid particulates - from burning wood, charcoal, dung, crop waste

With little to no

ventilationSoot and carbon monoxide


Sick-Building Syndrome

A sickness produced by indoor pollution w/ general & nonspecific symptomspersistent set of symptoms in >20% populationcomplaints/Symptoms relieved after exiting buildingDizziness, headaches, coughing, sneezing, nausea, & flu-like symptomsNew buildings are more commonly “sick” than old ones because of reduced air exchange.Chemicals released from new carpet, paint and furnitureCan be solved with low-toxicity building materials & good ventilationSick Building Syndrome (1:05)


Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

In developed countries:Use low-toxicity materialsMonitor air qualityKeep rooms cleanBan indoor smokingPrevent radon infiltrationIncrease intake of outside airSet stricter formaldehyde emission standardsLimit exposure to chemicalsIn developing countries:Dry wood before burningCook outsideUse less-polluting fuels (natural gas)






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