When I learnt indoor air in my home was 10x more polluted than outdoor air!!

coughing

Images: flickr.com

Since Diwali, Delhi has continuously been in the news, but for all the wrong reasons. The smog that has hit the capital is one of the worst in the current times. And, it’s sad to see the people, especially kids suffering from various lung infections. I read in the newspaper that the presence of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are at alarming levels in Delhi, and several times higher than the safe limit recommended by the World Health Organization. For all those who don’t know what is PM (I didn’t know myself and Googled it), PM is fine particulate matter about 30 times finer than the human hair and hence easy to be inhaled deeply by the lungs causing respiratory problems, lung cancer, strokes and heart attacks. Yes, it’s that bad!

I stay in Mumbai. I thought I was safe. Mumbai is more than 1000 kms away from Delhi, and its pollution. But, is it? I checked the real time air quality index (AQI) of Mumbai, and to my shock I realized that, we, the citizens of Mumbai aren’t that safe from pollution too. As a mother, it is something unacceptable to me. I can’t see my daughter inhaling polluted air. So does that mean I keep her cooped up indoors all the time? That is not possible either. So I tried to search for some solutions on the Internet, when I got the biggest shock of my life. Indoor air can be 10 times more polluted at times is worse than outdoor air. I thought it was reading it wrong, so I read it again. But, the message was loud and clear. Our homes are more polluted.
  • Cleaning products: We can be exposed to carcinogenic chemicals found in household cleaning products. I have an obsession when it comes to keeping my home clean, and so I use various products like surface cleaners, Koleen spray, phenyl, Dettol, toilet and bathroom cleaners, etc. on daily basis. I never thought they were contributing to the air pollution in my house. I have instructed my maid to use fewer products, but they are still being used however little.

  • Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in the house smokes, it can lead to pollution. Thankfully, neither I nor my spouse smokes.

  • Pets: If there are pets in the house, then pet hair and dander can make indoor air extremely unhealthy.

  • Cooking: Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide gases from cooking in an area that is poorly ventilated can lead to infections, cardiovascular diseases, etc. I make it a point to keep the kitchen window open at all times whenever I am cooking.

  • Aerosol products: Deodorants can cause indoor pollution. Are you stumped on reading this? Well, so I was. I stopped using deodorants immediately, but when I asked my husband, he looked at me as if I had suddenly taken leave of my senses. And, argument over.

Next, I looked at the solutions to control indoor air pollution in my home. Here are a few I came across:

  • Keep your house well ventilated; open the doors and windows to bring in fresh air.

  • Get some indoor plants like Areca palm, Reed palm, Boston fern, Rubber plant, Dwarf date palm, etc. which remove pollutants from the home.

  • Keep the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans on as they suck in indoor contaminants.

  • Use air purifiers conditioners, dehumidifiers and humidifiers regularly.

These are some nice enough ways to control the indoor pollution in your home. However, if you live in a highly polluted area, they might not be adequate. So, use an air purifier to get clean air.

Buying an air purifier seems a good enough solution to me. However, I cannot buy things just on face value. I need to know how an air purifier will clean my house. I read about it and here’s what I learnt. When I use vacuum cleaner over carpet, sofa tapestry, etc. I can see dust and muck on its filter. However, what about all that pollen, dust mites, etc. that the vacuum cleaner can’t absorb still floating in your house and entering into the lungs of your kids? This is where the role of Air Purifiers kick in as it can reduce these allergens to a greater extent.

I guess I am sold on air purifiers to reduce indoor air pollution and release pure and healthy air for my family. There are a few air purifiers in the market and all should be good. However, as I have been using Eureka Forbes water filter for 10 years, and consider it a good brand (I haven’t had a single complaint in the last 10 years), I have decided to go with Eureka Forbes’ Dr. Aeroguard.

When it comes to the health of my family, I am not compromising. What about you?

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