Ever since the pandemic threw the world into chaos, your home has become more than just your place of relaxation. The four walls still continue to embody offices, gyms, and creative spaces for many. While you probably think of this multi-functional place as a safe haven, Dr Amir Khan has warned there could be various indoor air pollutants lurking inside of it. Worryingly, these pesky substances could be raising your risk of various health problems, ranging from lung disease to strokes.
Speaking in a video posted on his Twitter, Dr Amir said: “When we normally think of air pollution, we think of outside – cars, planes, emissions – that kind of thing.
“But there are common household items that can pollute the inside of our homes.
“Poor indoor air quality has been linked to lung disease, heart disease and even strokes.
“So, let’s look at some examples.”
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First on the list are wood-burning stoves and open fires which can produce something called particulate matter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fine, smaller particles like these can be “dangerous” because they can get into the deep parts of your lungs and even into your blood.
“These tiny particles when breathed in can damage our lungs and increase our risk of lung cancer in the long term,” Dr Amir said.
The health body also linked particle pollution to eye, lung and throat irritation, trouble breathing and problems with babies at birth.
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Other risky household items are scented candles and incense sticks because they give off tiny particles of other pollutants when they burn.
Dr Amir said: “Incense sticks, in particular, give off over 100 times more fine particles than a scented candle.
“So, it’s a good idea to light these in well-aired large spaces.”
The last group of items to watch are the very things that are supposed to keep our homes clean and safe.
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Dr Amir said: “Cleaning products, like furniture polish, air freshener, carpet cleaner, oven cleaner, as well as aerosols, like deodorant and hairspray, contain something called volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which when breathed in can irritate our airways, cause nausea and damage our nerves and other organs.”
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found that the levels of these common organic pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside.
Furthermore, this data was the same regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas.
Dr Amir added: “I know it’s impossible to avoid all of these things in our homes but by minimising their use, having lots of indoor plants, and opening windows, allowing for good ventilation, you can improve your indoor air quality.”
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