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Indoor air pollution and health

Detoxify your air - Causes of air pollution - Air filters, purifiers

Sources of indoor air pollution are too numerous to list - it goes into hundreds and thousands. Each single air contaminant can adversely affect your health, and much more so when combined - as they usually come. While many are aware of the threat of indoor air contamination, it may take more than just getting air purifier from the local store to protect your health.

Efficient protection from air pollution requires some basic knowledge of both, sources of indoor air contamination and air purifier capabilities.

Every breath you take fills your lungs with air. Oxygen from the air diffuses into your blood across tiny alveolar walls, and with it most anything else that happened to be in the air, small enough to sneak in: from carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, pesticides, and airborne toxic metals to dioxins and dozens of toxic volatile organic hydrocarbons.

These can be carried by ultra-fine particles of soot, which are themselves harmful contaminants.

Larger particulate contaminants (smoke particles, dust, as well as pollen and mold spores) irritate and damage alveolar membranes, while their molecular components and contaminants partly dissolve and also penetrate into the blood.

There is no way to prevent this from happening. The only option is taking pollutants out of the air, since

you don't want toxins accumulating in your lungs and bloodstream.

The main source of outdoor air pollution is auto exhaust, followed by industrial emission (if you live in an area with significant industrial activity, the order can be reversed). Agricultural operations and areal mosquito spraying can also be significant intermittent sources of air contamination. There is not much you can do to prevent outdoor contaminants to enter your bloodstream, other to minimize your outdoor exposure.

Fortunately, things are much more under your control when it comes to the indoor air, especially in your own home. It is also more important, for two reasons: (1) indoor air is much more contaminated, and (2) most people spend 80%-90% of their time indoors.

Average indoor air is 5-10 times more contaminated than outdoor's. At its worst, it can be as much as 100 times more polluted. It is a growing problem, with as much as 50% of all illnesses possibly linked to indoor air pollution, both at home and at work. As usual, those most at risk are children, sick and the elderly, but no one is safe. Health consequences range from acute to chronic illnesses, and from immediate to (years and decades) delayed.

Symptoms of vulnerability to indoor air pollution are many, from runny nose, headache, blurred vision and fatigue, to confusion, insomnia, and depression, to allergies, mutations, birth defects and cancer.

Indoor air contaminants are both, gases and particulate matter. While there are many specific contaminants, main sources, or causes of indoor air pollution can be traced to only a few. Considering its high level of contamination, monitoring indoor air quality and bringing it to acceptable levels by both, minimizing the influx of contaminants, and removing them from the air by air filtration, are a must for securing healthy living conditions.  

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