Causes of Indoor Air Pollution and Their Effects
Today, approximately 90% of the time is spent indoors. Indoor air unlike outdoor air doesn’t get recycled continuously causing it to trap and build up pollutants. This thus leads to building of a harmful indoor environment for humans. This article explains the Causes of Indoor Air Pollution and Their Effects on Human health.
We want our indoor environment to be fresh and pollution free.
So, for this we should first know what indoor air quality (IAQ) is.
What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Indoor air quality can be defined as quality of air indoors (buildings) as represented by concentration of pollutants and thermal conditions that affect the health, comfort and performance of occupants.
Poor indoor air quality has short term and long term effects on human health.
Health effects of poor indoor air quality on human health are:-
- Throat, eye or nose irritation
- Sick building syndrome
- Legionnaires disease
- Lung cancer
Sources of Indoor air quality Pollutants
The sources and pollutants of indoor air pollution resulting in effects of above mentioned effects on human health are:-
|Causes of Indoor air Pollution||Pollutants|
|Fireplace, woodstove, Tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust (attached garage)||CO, CO2, NOx, SO2, PAHs, PM|
|Tobacco products||Environmental tobacco smoke, PM|
|Paints, Aerosol sprays, varnishes, wood preservatives,||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)|
|Interior plywood, nail polish, glue and adhesives||Formaldehyde|
|Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides|
|Building material, Soil or well water||Radon|
|Bacteria, Mold, Fungi|
|Fire proofing, deteriorating or damaged insulation||Asbestos|
To obtain a healthy pollution free indoor environment i.e to obtain good indoor air quality, we must monitor IAQ.
Indoor air quality monitoring procedure
IAQ monitoring involves analysis and survey methodology to understand and grade indoor air quality
It makes consideration of following points during monitoring procedure:-
- Type of building, no of residents or no of workers
- Health and comfort assessment
- Prior health illness, diseases assessment
- HVAC system performance monitoring
- Air quality analysis
- Investigation (Source of pollution)
- Recommendations to improve indoor air quality
In air quality analysis it measures following parameters:
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
- Oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
- Particulate matter (PM)
- Air velocity
Monitoring procedure for indoor air quality
Monitoring procedure for IAQ takes into consideration of following points before starting analysis
- Selection of sampling location
- Selection of parameters to be analysed
- Consideration of Monitoring duration
- Consideration of number of samples to be taken
Indoor Air quality Instruments
Some instruments and software used to carry out analysis of Indoor air quality
|DustTrak||CO, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, SOx, NO2|
|Ecotect, Autodesk flow simulation, Fusion||Simulation of air velocity, air flow, wind|
Once monitoring of IAQ is performed, we can compare the results with standards provided by National Building Code (2016). National Building Code (2016) standards have been designed for Indian buildings.
- Temperature – 26 ± 2º C
- Humidity – 40% to 70%
- Air velocity – 1.2 m/s (minimum requirement)
- PM – 60 µg/m3
- SO2 – 80 µg/m3
- CO – 20 mg/ m3
- HC – 1800 µg/m3
- NOx – 200 µg/m3
On comparison with standards we can easily get an idea about the quality of our indoor air.
Indoor air of good quality is important to have a healthy life. Knowing about your indoor air quality and maintaining quality of indoor air will definitely help us in the long run.