Learn how does Outdoor Air Pollution affect Indoor Air Quality?

Understanding the relationship between Outdoor & Indoor Air Quality is your strongest weapon against its affects on your health. To learn more about it, read the content below.
Nowadays you all would be reading news regarding severe air quality in Delhi, this is happening due to Outdoor air pollution. This indicates that India is once again heading into the worst time of year for air pollution.
Air pollution from hazardous particulate matter climbed back to alarming levels in the Delhi area on 12th November 2019, data from the Central Pollution Control Board1. Delhi has been in news from many days for air pollution.
In many areas of Delhi / North India air quality2 deteriorated to unbearable levels – into the “hazardous” category, with the potential to cause respiratory illnesses.
According to The Hindu, Air pollution is now the third highest cause of death3 among all health risks ranking in India. Life expectancy in India has gone down by 2.6 years due to deadly diseases caused by air pollution, a recent report by an environment think tank has found.
Air pollution has become a public health concern all over the world. To know about its effects, click here4.
Understanding the relationship between Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is your strongest weapon against its affects on your health. Your behaviour and environment both influence the interaction between indoor and outdoor pollutants, so changing both your habits and your home is important to minimize outdoor air pollution’s effect on indoor air.
Now we move into the topic of our blog.

Let us understand that how outdoor pollutants enter indoors and thereby affect indoor air quality (IAQ).

Outdoor air pollution is one of the sources of indoor air pollution5. Indoor pollution can be even more deadly because it affects you in places where you spend most of your time each day.
Air quality can be affected by many different pollutants, but for typical air quality measurement, several categories are typically used. In most situations, particles are the major consideration. The most common measurements are PM 2.5 and PM 10, measured in micrograms per cubic meter. To Know more, click here6.
Concentrations of the outdoor pollutants rise and fall constantly because of changes in the weather, climate, and human activity.
Outdoor air pollutants infiltrate your indoor air in ways that may not be immediately but if left unnoticed can enter and create problems in future. The most common ways outdoor air pollution affects IAQ are as follows:

1. Cracks in walls and windows

The most important points of entry for outdoor air pollutants are the tiny, often undetectable cracks, openings and gaps in your walls and windows.

Older homes also tend to be more damaged by age & weather and weather-stripping around windows, and other openings that can do little to keep polluted outdoor air from entering in. And sometimes it can also occur due to crack in window glasses.

2. Open door & windows

When you feel suffocated in your home or building, your first instinct may be to open windows and doors to let in fresh air. Bringing in oxygenated outside air can be a good idea, but outdoor air can be polluted. When outdoor pollutant levels are high, ventilating the indoors with outdoor air can make your pollution worse.

It is usually a good idea to regularly let in lots of outdoor air to decrease build-ups of indoor pollutants and toxic gases, such as ultrafine particles and carbon dioxide. But when polluted outdoor air infiltrates your home or office, then your exposure to outdoor PM10 and PM2.57 increases significantly resulting in various diseases8.

3. Sealant Deterioration

If Sealant around window and sliding door frame is deteriorated, then there would be gap around it. This can cause outdoor polluted air to enter inside in your home. It needs to be checked and repaired to avoid pollutants to enter home/ office.

To understand harmful effects of Indoor air problem and strategies to improve Indoor Air Quality click here.
You can also check out easy ways to stop air pollution by reading the following link Conserve energy future9 – 41 Super Easy Ways To Stop Air Pollution.


Our objective was to make you understand the way outdoor air pollution impacts indoor air quality. Along with this, we want to make you realise that it is very important to take steps to reduce outdoor and indoor air pollution. If we will take measures or move towards combating it then we could avoid its harmful effects on us and environment too.
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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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