Common indoor air contaminants have been linked to a wide range of medical conditions.

There is yet another reason to make sure that the indoor air at home and at the workplace is the cleanest possible.

At a recent seminar in Ghana, a senior program officer of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ebenezer Fiahagbe, talked about the risks of indoor air pollutants to human health – they contribute to an annual 8.5 million deaths worldwide.

The contaminants released into the air by common culprits such as carpets, asbestos, lead paints, cleaning products and dust mites have been linked to a range of lung-related illnesses, including asthma, bronchitis, coughing, respiratory infections and cancer.

Many people regularly exposed to poor indoor air quality

Commonly used building materials, furniture, household products, office devices, cleaning agents and more all contribute to a less-than-healthy indoor air environment. Combustion appliances and wood stoves are also adding to the load of contaminants. Many buildings also have high concentrations of naturally occurring gases such as radon, which can enter houses through cracks in the foundations – a growing problem called soil vapor intrusion.

According to Fiahagbe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in a recent report that over 300,000 lung related deaths are recorded annually. Indoor pollution is cited as one of the major causes, including tobacco or environmental smoke, pesticides, mold, mildew and dust mites.

WHO says that indoor air pollution from biological agents in indoor air related to dampness and mold increases the risk of respiratory disease in children and adults by 50%.

Methods to reduce indoor air pollution

  • Use VOC-free (volatile organic compounds) building materials, paints, and cleaning products to reduce the amount of chemicals released into the indoor air
  • Keep the building ventilated and make sure there is not an excess of humidity or water leaks that create ideal habitats for mold growth
  • Run an industrial-strength air purifier to remove particles and chemicals from the air. Many models nowadays are cost- and energy-efficient. Be sure not to purchase an air purifier that emits ozone which can harm the lungs and is itself a pollutant. HEPA filtration for particles and carbon filtration for odors and VOCs are inert, non-ozone producing purification technologies available commercially

Source: GNA; Article printed from Ghana Business News: