A Complete Overview

Air Quality Index

What is Air Quality?

Before After
Air quality means the suitability of the air for breathing by humans and animals. A person inhales about approx 14,000 litres of air every day. Hence, adverse / poor quality of air will affect the quality of life. Overall, it will affect our posterity affecting the health, the environment, the economy, infact the liveability of the locality / city. Good ambient (outdoor) air quality is basic to our good health and well-being. Therefore, violation of the right to healthy environment is potentially a violation of the basic right to life (NAAQS).

Why Air Quality is important?

Clean air is the basic necessity when it comes to healthy living for mankind. The quality of air influences how you live and breathe. Like the weather, it can vary from day to day or even hour to hour.
Nowadays, poor air quality is one of the main causes of several acute health diseases. It is vital to know the air quality of locality, city, and nation to assess its impact on the health of the citizens.
Air quality is a measure of how polluted the air is. It is important to monitor air quality because polluted air can be bad for our health as well as the health of the environment.

What is Air Quality Index?

Air quality is measured with the Air Quality Index (AQI). It works sort of like a thermometer that runs from 0 to 500 degrees. The AQI is a way of showing changes in the amount of air pollution instead of showing variation in the temperature.
It is an index for reporting air quality on a daily basis. It tells us how clean or unhealthy/ polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern. The index focuses on health effects that may be experienced within a few hours or days after gasping unhealthy air.
It serves two main purposes:
  1. To aware the public about air quality in a comprehensible manner so that they may take action to protect their health
  2. To help countries develop and assess policies for improving air quality
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Know Your Home Air

Gas heating systems, leaking chimneys, fire places emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other harmful pollutants. Plastics and common household cleaners, paints, paint thinner often placed under the kitchen sink, release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), when used and stored. Overheating of non-stick cookware releases toxic fumes. Pesticides we use in and around the home also release various chemical and semi-volatile compounds.


Harmful effects
Carbon monoxide causes headache, dizziness and fatigue. These often cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Fine particles are produced during all kinds of combustion which lead to acute and chronic effects to respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Pet dander and hair, carpet, rugs, upholstery furniture are main source of dust mites, fungus, and bacteria. A dirty filter of air conditioners acts as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, other tobacco products and mosquito coil emits VOC’s and formaldehyde and various particulate matters. CO2 released from our lungs is exhaled in the air which pollutes the air if the place is too crowded or there is less ventilation.


Harmful effects
All these can trigger coughing, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, dry mouth, vomiting,
digestive tract problems, depression, allergy and asthma attacks, and other respiratory illness.

Shower, faucets and other water sources are main cause of humidity and mold. Bathroom cleaners and personal care products like toothpaste, soaps, facial tissues, detergent, fabric softeners, air fresheners, deodorizers, hair sprays, disinfectants, are full of VOC’s and chemicals which emits harmful pollutants.


Harmful effects
Mold can cause allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory ailments. VOC’s and toxic chemicals released in the bathroom can causes eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and respiratory problems. All these products release harmful pollutants while they are used also when they are stored.

A bedroom contains many sources of indoor air pollution. Mattress, pillow and blankets, soft toys, are the reservoirs of dust mites, fungi and bacteria. Furniture, carpets, paints and beauty product like hairspray, nail polishes, perfumes, deodorants etc off gas VOC, formaldehyde and toxic gases into the air.


Harmful effects
These pollutants make the air unhealthy which leads to allergy, asthma attacks, dizziness, headache, fatigue and other respiratory ailments.

Second-hand smoke
Second hand Smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars or pipes and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Passive smoking can lead to coughing, excess phlegm, and chest discomfort. NCI (National Cancer Institute) also notes that spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), cervical cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, nasal sinus cancer, decreased lung function, exacerbation of cystic fibrosis, and negative cognitive and behavioral effects in children have been linked to ETS. Secondhand smoke exposure commonly occurs indoors, particularly in homes and cars. Secondhand smoke can move between rooms of a home and between apartment units.

Guest Bathroom

Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
The air filter in your HVAC system is the front line of defense against poor indoor air quality. A typical central heating and cooling system circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air through the filter. This means the entire air volume in your house passes through the filter multiple times every day. A dirty filter, however, can actually make indoor air quality worse by acting as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. In addition to driving up your utility bill, a clogged air filter will allow all that dust and debris that should be filtered out to be re-circulated back into your home. This can cause chronic allergies and especially be dangerous for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

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