Know What You are Breathing Indoors? And Its Not Good at All.


We focus much on outdoor air pollution, which of course needs immediate attention and control. We all know the outdoor air is polluted and is very toxic in our cities. Check the outdoor air pollution at your place now: aqicn.org/ It contains very very toxic pollutants that are playing havoc with our health every now and then. There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.  The proposed AQI in India consider eight toxic air pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb).However, there are some eyeopeners, when we think we are safe and secure away from pollution in our homes. 

Did you know what we breathe indoors is also surprisingly very bad for our health. We stay indoors 90% of our lifespan, and this shows an importance of the indoor air quality in human health effects. This works for any urban setting including work and home. In India, people are still not much aware about the fact that Indoor Air Quality can be at dangerous levels too. We had a survey and we were surprised that people don’t clearly understand the concepts of indoor houseplants. People told us that they have plants at home or office, but they not really meant the plants in closed spaces. What they meant was plants in open spaces such as corridors, balconies and entrances. When we refer to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) it is the air quality both within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. The indoor air pollution is 2 to 5 times more than outdoors. There’s also lack of oxygen which is relatively lowest indoors, especially in air conditioned environments.

Numerous kinds of air pollutants and sources indoors could damage health (such as: human activities, decoration materials, furniture, air-conditioning system, and outdoor air pollutants etc). The indoor contaminants include: Particulate matter, Carbon monoxide, secondhand tobacco smoke, Pesticides, Solvents, Volatile organic compounds in Paints, Wood Preservatives, Polishes Paints and Varnishes. There are also Biological pollutants –Dusts,  Mites - Allergens – Moulds, Fungus, Bacteria in certain amounts.  Built environment, Radon, Asbestos, Occupation-related contaminant have been also found in considerable amount. Let’s see what pollutants we have indoors and what their sources are.

Lets see in details the effect of indoor pollutants on our health.

Dust, which can trigger respiratory allergies in people who are sensitive to them.

Insecticides, herbicides and pesticide. Vapors of agricultural chemicals contain toxic substances such as arsenic that are known to disrupt the endocrine system and lead to cancerous growth.

Chlorine by-products like chloramines and trihalomethanes which are formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter like skin, hair, bacteria and etc. Inhaling these chemicals can irritate and cause damages to the respiratory system.

Household cleaning chemicals, paints and solvents. These products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can trigger sick building syndrome such as headaches, skin and throat irritation when people are exposed to them on a regular basis.

Synthetic fragrances, perfumes and deodorizers. Substances used in fragrances, perfumes and deodorizers are largely unregulated and are not monitored by the government. Some of the highly volatile and semi-volatile chemicals used have been found to be toxic and are capable of causing skin irritation, allergic reaction, cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and reproductive disorders.

Dry cleaned clothes which contains trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, which are highly toxic substances that are known to cause cancer.

Secondhand tobacco smoke which contains 200 known poisons and 43 carcinogens.

Biological pollutants, including mold, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and dust mites that could diseases, trigger hay fever or induce asthma in adults and children.

Pet dander. Hairs and dried skins from animals can also be sources of respiratory irritants.

Carpets and upholstery that use formaldehyde as permanent adhesive. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell. It is classified as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

Volatile organic gases released by building and remodeling materials, such as paint, lacquer, glue and plywood. Toxic volatile organic compounds can be emitted by building materials for as long as a few years after installation.

Fumes from paraffin wax candles. A study done by the South Carolina State University found that candles made of paraffin wax release toxic chemicals such as toluene and benzene that can quickly build up to unhealthy level in enclosed areas.

Minute particles and gases from office machines and stationery. Copiers, laser printers, correction fluid, graphics and craft materials and others can also be a source of ultra-fine particles and VOCs that can penetrate deep into the lungs.

Radon gas from kitchen counter top, attic and basement. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America according to the US National Cancer Institute.

Combustion pollutants. These are gases or particles that are emitted by unvented or poorly vented fuel-burning appliances such as fireplace, heater, wood or gas stove, water heater and dryer. Some of the hazardous gases that may be produced include nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

 All of these are known to affect human health very adversely, and the resulting odors, dampness, stale air, and stuffiness also make a house less comfortable and can make inhabitants or workforce in offices teribbly sick causing Sick Building Syndrome. Most control strategies help with both gases and “particulates” like dust, pollen, and smoke particles. However, while Air Purifiers/filters of increasing sophistication can trap most nuisance and harmful particulates, there really aren’t comparable removal strategies for gases. There’s less humidification indoors, and it is a major cause of headaches, dizziness and respiratory diseases. Humidifiers do help but again they can’t address the indoor pollution holistically.

We, at Rolling Nature understand that Health is precious and securing the health of each family member is one major task. We want you to know that NASA conducted a Clean Air Study which mentioned and detailed about best air purifying and humidifying plants indoors. NASA clean air study recommends 15-18 plants in approximate area of 1800 per square feet. They have proved that few plants have ability to remove toxic indoor air pollutants effectively. Live plants improve the Indoor Air Quality efficiently and makes the indoors worth staying. They fix pollutants or contaminants, degrade and decompose them through their roots after taking them in through their leaf surfaces. This is known as phytoremediation. The plants pump in fresh oxygen through photosynthesis and also humidify through transpiration.

Peace Lily, Ferns, Spider Plants and Money plants are known as effective air purifying plants and are also good humidifiers. Snake plant or Sensivieria is known for releasing night-time oxygen. The other plant air filter includes Anthuriums, Syngonium, Chinese evergreen or Aglaonema. All these plants top in the air-purifying list of NASA. Bring home air purifying ready potted, low maintenance, better shelf life plants from Rolling Nature, and get all their benefits. They look pretty, they will enhance the green décor indoors and they will reduce carbon dioxide levels, pollutant such as benzene and nitrogen dioxide, airborne dust levels and increase humidity. Plants increase working efficiency and enhances creativity along with longevity .Breathe better and fresh indoors!

Why buy expensive airpurifiers & humidifiers from the market when you can have natural live plants as effective airpurifiers & humidifiers. Plants purify air, making them part of what NASA calls "nature’s life support system." Interest in plants as air purifiers—what's called "phytoremediation"—comes amid mounting concerns about the quality of indoor air. This World Environment Day lets join to fight #beatairpollution both outdoors and indoors. Let’s bring Garden Indoors, gift more plants, and #breathefreshindoors.

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References:

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality

https://www.isiaq.org/docs/papers/749.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796751/

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/sick_building_factsheet.pdf

https://www.who.int/ceh/capacity/Indoor_Air_Pollution.pdf


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