Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Indoor air pollution

Nathan Cabello - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Is it possible that we may not really be safe inside our homes and workplaces? Yes, according to the website http://eschooltoday.com. There is such a thing as indoor air pollution.

The eschooltoday.com website defines 'indoor air' as air within a building such as the home, classroom, office, shopping center, hospital or gym. It says that indoor air pollution happens if indoor air is contaminated by smoke, chemicals, smells or particles.

If we think about it, indoor air pollution poses a more direct risk to us. "Unlike outdoor air pollution," eschooltoday.com explains, "the effect of indoor air pollution is health related and less of an environmental issue." It cites that "in colder regions, building and heating methods make use of airtight spaces, less ventilation and energy efficient heating. Sometimes synthetic building materials, smells from household care and furnishing chemicals can all be trapped indoors."

The website adds, "As less fresh air gets indoors, the concentration of pollutants such as pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, pesticides, radon, asbestos and carbon monoxide trapped inside the building increases and people breathe that in." The website also shares a few facts related with indoor air pollution:

• Around three billion people worldwide cook and heat their homes using open fires and leaky stoves, and burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.

• Nearly 2 million people die prematurely from illnesses attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use.

• Nearly 50 percent of pneumonia deaths among children under five are due to particulate matter inhaled from indoor air pollution.

• More than one million people die every year from chronic obstructive respiratory disease that develops due to exposure to indoor air pollution.

• Both women and men exposed to heavy indoor smoke are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive respiratory disease. (FREEMAN)

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