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Article Source: The Weather Channel (via IANS and TWC India)

Article Link: https://weather.com/en-IN/india/pollution/news/2023-01-17-indoor-air-pollution-5-times-worse-than-outdoors-experts

As Delhi-NCR reels under massive air pollution in winters post-Diwali every year, leaving people with respiratory illnesses gasping for breath.

On Tuesday, experts pointed out that even though indoor air quality appears to be better than outdoor air, it can be up to five times worse. Most people spend winter days inside, which could be a health hazard due to air pollution.

Indoor and outdoor air pollution are often treated as separate entities, but outdoor pollutants, such as vehicle exhaust fumes, pollen and mould spores, can also enter our indoor spaces.

According to Dr. Vipul Gupta, Chief of Neurointerventional Surgery and Co-Chief Stroke Unit at Artemis Hospital in Gurugram, it is believed that indoor air pollution could be worse than outdoor air pollution. Being in a contained area enables the potential pollutants to harm us even more.

“The harmful dust, dirt and gases inside buildings are linked to several health concerns like cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and development of several infections,” Dr. Gupta told IANS.

The leading cause behind indoor air pollution is gases or particles released into the air. Substances like building materials, tobacco smoke, and wood-burning stoves cause indoor pollution. Once inside, they can react with indoor pollutants, creating a complex cocktail of dirty air.

“Likewise, indoor pollutants, such as smoke from burning wood or cooking fumes, can exit buildings through ventilation. For example, air fresheners and deodorants may contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and benzene, while cleaning products can contain benzene and household fumes and odours,” Ginger Lee, Senior Electronics Engineer at a consumer electronics company, told IANS.

Furniture and carpets can also emit formaldehyde and flame retardants that accumulate in the air. At the same time, emissions from cooking appliances, such as ovens and stoves, may contain various substances that deteriorate indoor air quality.

“As modern homes generally have better sealing, these pollutants can become trapped and cannot escape,” said Lee.

According to a report in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine, statistics suggest that in developing countries, the health impacts of indoor air pollution far outweigh those of outdoor air pollution.

Around 4.2 million people die prematurely due to indoor air pollution, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Lee said that their purifiers make the invisible visible, helping users to understand the types of pollution they are exposed to daily and giving them peace of mind that these pollutants are being captured and that they are breathing clean air indoors. The HEPA+Carbon filter removes 99.95% of pollutants as small as 0.1 microns, such as allergens, bacteria, pollen, mould spores, and harmful gases.

Dr. Gupta advised people to ensure ventilation as it will freshen the air inside the room and help remove the polluted air.

“Along with ventilation, decluttering or cleaning your rooms/households now and then is important for never letting the dust settle and trap pollutants inside. Indoor plants are also a great way to prevent indoor air pollution as they will purify the air quality present inside,” he noted.