Indoor air pollution

Introduction to indoor air pollution

Our indoor air is often more polluted than the outdoor air, but most of the people are not aware of this. This pollution obviously has negative effects on our health and our environment. Nevertheless research indicates that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.
Naturally outdoor pollution can enter our homes. But often our homes are polluted from the inside. The indoor air quality is affected by VOCs. The VOCs are emitted by a wide variety of products such as certain building materials, household products, combustion gases and tobacco smoke.
“More extensive list of VOC emitting products: paints, lacquers and other solvents, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents and air fresheners, stored fuels and automotive products, hobby supplies, dry-cleaned clothing.” Source: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html

Health Effects

“Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.  Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.
The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.” 

Source: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html