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Indoor Air Pollution Chapter 20, Section 5. Indoor air pollution. Indoor air contains higher concentrations of pollutants than outdoor air 6,000 people die per day from indoor air pollution The average U.S. citizen spends 90% of the time indoors

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indoor air pollution

Indoor airpollution

Indoor air contains higher concentrations of pollutants than outdoor air

6,000 people die per day from indoor air pollution

The average U.S. citizen spends 90% of the time indoors

Exposed to synthetic materials that have not been comprehensively tested

To reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency, building ventilation systems were sealed off ventilation and windows put in that did not open, trapping pollutants inside

indoor air pollution in the developing world
Indoor air pollution in the developing world
  • Stems from burning
    • Wood, charcoal, dung, crop wastes
    • Little to no ventilation
  • Fuel burning pollution causes an estimated 1.6 million deaths per year
    • Soot and carbon monoxide
    • Causes pneumonia, bronchitis, allergies, cataracts, asthma, heart disease, cancer and death
indoor air pollution in developed countries
Indoor air pollution in developed countries
  • The most dangerous indoor pollutant in the developed world: tobacco smoke
  • Secondhand smoke from cigarettes is especially dangerous
    • Containing over 4000 dangerous chemicals including : benzene, formaldehyde, nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, acrolein, ammonia, acetone
    • Causes eye, nose, and throat irritation
    • Smoking has declined in developed nations
indoor air pollutants
Indoor Air Pollutants

Second most dangerous indoor air pollutant in developed countries:

Radon – colorless, odorless radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium; can seep into buildings; can cause cancer

slide7

Outlet vents for furnaces and dryers

Open window

Open window

Openings

around

pipes

Openings

around

pipes

Cracks in wall

Cracks in wall

Slab joints

Wood stove

Cracks in floor

Sump

pump

Clothes

dryer

Furnace

Slab

Radon-222 gas

Uranium-238

Soil

volatile organic compounds vocs
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • The most diverse group of indoor air pollutants
    • Released by everything from plastics and oils to perfumes and paints
    • Most VOCs are released in very small amounts
    • Unclear health implications due to low concentrations
    • Also include pesticides, which are found indoors more often than outdoors due to seepage
    • Formaldehyde, which leaks from pressed wood and insulation, irritates mucous membranes and induces skin allergies
indoor air pollutants1
Indoor Air Pollutants

Asbestos – fire-resistant material used in many building materials until they were banned in the 1970s

Becomes a problem if it is disturbed and the fibers that make up asbestos become airborne, lodge in lungs, cause cancer

indoor air pollutants2
Indoor air pollutants

Biological:

Fungi – mold spores; some people are allergic to them; can come from air ducts, moist walls, etc; problem after Katrina

Bacteria – some can be airborne and can be distributed in air ducts, water droplets at spas; Ex: Legionnaire’s disease

Dust mites

Animal dander

indoor air pollutants3
Indoor Air Pollutants

Sick Building Syndrome – when something about a building is making people sick, they get better when they leave the building

Symptoms – headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, dizziness

Often due to newer airtight construction which limits flow of fresh air

May be caused by chemical, biological or any other pollutant

we can reduce indoor air pollution
We can reduce indoor air pollution
  • In developed countries:
    • Use low-toxicity material
    • Monitor air quality
    • Keep rooms clean
    • Limit exposure to chemicals
  • In developing countries:
    • Dry wood before burning
    • Cook outside
    • Use less-polluting fuels (natural gas)