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Anthropogenic causes of air pollution: Indoor Air Pollution

Although indoor air pollution may seem a type of air pollution and not a cause for it, this post is to summarize the different activities indoors that cause air pollution.

Indoor pollution is a real issue, and it can be 5 times worse than outdoors pollution in some cases. Due to people are obviously not willing to wear pollution respirators at home, air purifiers were born many years ago to eradicate pollutants indoors.

Indoor air pollution emissions in developing countries can become a big problem for people, as coal and biomass are usually burnt to produce energy. Furthermore, lack of regulations contributes to aggravate the situation.

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

Air pollution inside buildings is accelerated by the toxicity of some materials, the poor ventilation, temperatures and humidity. Depending on the pollutant, indoor air pollutants can be classified in different types. Here are some of its most common causes and sources:


Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals with long, thin fibers that makes them easy to inhale, and some may become lodged in the lungs.

Asbestos are related to many lungs’ diseases and were banished in countries like the U.S.. They were (and in some places are) used in coatings, paints, building materials, and ceiling and floor tiles.


This chemical compound is another leading cause of indoor air pollution. Used in paints, sealants, and wood floors, it was banished as well in many countries for its harmful consequences to humans health.


Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water; and is the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.. It is very hard to find radon outdoors, but it is a very common pollutant indoors, in the water and the air.

If you wish to test the levels of radon at home, notice it is a very inexpensive method. You can buy a test kit at most hardware stores or hire someone to do a test for you.

Tobacco smoke

Tobacco’s dangers are maximized indoors, due to the poor ventilation, and that is why bars and restaurants banished this activity indoors. You can refer to our post on tobacco smoke to know the fatal consequences of this air pollution cause.

Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide

Objects such as wood stoves, space heaters, water heaters and fireplaces, all put out carbon monoxide (CO) as well as nitrogen dioxide (NO2). There are usually air outtakes to bring these pollutants outside, but it always isn’t a 100% secure method, some of these pollutants stay in and we usually breath them.

Chemical VOCs

Synthetic volatile organic compounds and a variety of PM2.5 particles are released when using products for household cleaning, maintenance and personal care. These are extremely harmful for humans so it is recommended to air out the house and use some kind of respirator when using them.

Outside pollutants

Outdoors pollutants come inside when we open windows or doors to air out the house. Mildew, mold, bacteria, dust mites, dust, particles, ozone and pollen, for example.

Ways to improve indoor air quality

In this section you can find some easy and practical ways to improve the air quality at home and prevent possible future problems. Additionally, if you are willing to invest some money, air purifiers are a good option to maintain the air purified.

Home anti-smoking zone

Especially if kids live at home, your house should not be a place for smokers. The less smoke that is emitted into the air the less chances of one of the listed health effects happening to someone that you love.

Environmentally friendly cleaning products

This might be a very boring homework to do, but the good news are once it is done, it is done forever. Check out some house cleaning products brands which contain no pollutant or harmful substances. These brands might be slightly expensive, but they are not compared to healing a lung cancer.

The cheap way would be buying a pollution mask, but still your beloved ones can be breathing harmful substances.

Asbestos check

If you have a house that was built prior to the ban of asbestos, it is important to make sure there is none still lingering within home. And obviously it is a check that you should do before buying any house.

Stop using gas stoves

This type of stoves, as already mentioned, produce a large variety and quantity of air pollutants that are very harmful. Fifty years ago were the only option if you wanted to warm your house, but currently a lot of Eco-friendly options exist.

Prevent shoes dirt

Shoes are a big source of dust and dirt that when they are dried and shacked release air pollutants. Thus, any method to prevent this dirt to enter home will be a great success against air pollutionMoreover, keeping your shoes clean will make you look good.

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