Globally, indoor air pollution is a major concern for people, particularly in urban areas where pollution levels are typically higher. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), indoor air pollution causes around 4.3 million deaths annually, making it a critical public health issue. A recent study has further revealed that air pollution, warm bedrooms, and high levels of carbon dioxide and ambient noise may all adversely affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
In light of these findings Ian Brough, Head of Category, Environmental Care Engineering, Dyson addresses a few questions about the indoor air quality in our home that could help us make educated decisions to reduce air pollution exposure.
What contributes to indoor air pollution?
Indoor air quality can be majorly impacted by outdoor air pollution. Home isn’t always a safe haven, and pollution can be generated indoors through day-to-day activities, enter the house from outside, and emit from surfaces, eventually making up a complex cocktail of pollutants. As we increasingly seal our homes to seemingly shut pollution out, in truth, we may be shutting it in.
Every day we can breathe in up to 9,000 litres of air1 and spend up to 90% of our time behind closed doors2. Daily household activities such as cooking, cleaning with cleaning solvents, and using deodorants and scented candles are some of the more common indoor air pollutants. Other major indoor air pollutants can include mould, allergens, pollen and pet dander, or formaldehyde from mass-produced furniture.
How do indoor air pollutants vary in different rooms?
The concentration of indoor air pollutants can vary across rooms in a home depending on the sources of pollution, objects, and human activities.
For example, bedrooms are typically smaller enclosed spaces compared to other areas in the home, which can result in a higher concentration of indoor air pollutants, especially if the room is poorly ventilated. Similarly, in kitchens, burning fuels such as gas or oil can release VOCs, as well as tiny particulates called PM2.5, which are emitted during combustion.