A person’s home is often thought of as a safe haven against the outside world, but is it? According to a recent study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, it may not be.
That’s because the study revealed in 2012, indoor air pollution caused 4.3 million deaths, whereas outdoor pollution caused less deaths globally—3.7 million were attributed to outdoor causes like industrial and automotive pollution.
Misconceptions about Air Pollution
Study co-author Prashant Kumar, PhD, of the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, thinks there are misconceptions about air pollution. “When we think of the term ‘air pollution,’ we tend to think of car exhausts or factory fumes expelling gray smoke,” he says. “However, there are actually various sources of pollution that have a negative effect on air quality, many of which are found inside our homes and offices. From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores, the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside.”
Couple those conditions with the fact that many people globally still use coal or wood to cook meals indoors, and the potential for indoor air pollution is great. In industrialized nations, air pollution was also found to be higher in areas where there are congested traffic intersections, leading to higher correlated indoor air pollution.
Indoor Air Quality Awareness
Kumar believes more awareness on indoor air quality issues will help drive smarter decision-making as a whole, such as impacting the placement of city centers and city planning. And, studies such as the one published in Science of Total Environment can help publicize the need to improve indoor air quality overall.
Given the severity of IAQ issues, building and facility managers should consider taking steps to reduce indoor air pollution, like improving ventilation airflow and installing air purification systems – AeraMax professional air purifiers remove up to 99.9 percent of airborne contaminants, like germs, viruses and volatile organic compounds from indoor air.