Diseases caused by indoor pollution

Pollution of the environment of premises

This type of pollution can affect your body at home, at work and even away. This is the main cause of respiratory diseases, as well as asthma, allergies and lung cancer. These diseases can worsen in the winter when the windows are tightly closed and air circulates poorly.

Follow the advice that will help reduce the level of indoor pollution in the home, for example, do not allow smoking in the house.

Cigarette smoke

One of the more common toxic substances that pollute indoor air is cigarette smoke. Experts believe that it is he who causes 87% of cancer. Smoking or even tobacco smoke increases the risk of heart attacks.

Tobacco smoke consists of more than 4,700 components. Smoke from a smoldering stub contains more carcinogens than smoke inhaled by a smoker. If you do not smoke, and your cohabitants or employees continue to smoke near you, ask them to smoke in well-ventilated or isolated places. Never smoke in the presence of children and do not allow them to be in cigarette smoke, especially if they have asthma or an allergy.

The inhalation of cigarette smoke in many children causes wheezing, coughing, and excessive mucus secretion. Secondary smoke can cause accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, which can lead to ear infection. There is also a risk of developing respiratory infections in the lower respiratory tract, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Sometimes these infections may require hospitalization, especially in newborns and young children.

Newborns that are under the influence of secondary smoke are in a group at increased risk of developing sudden death syndrome.

Every year, cigarette smoke causes asthma in thousands of children. Also, children who suffer from this disease experience more acute symptoms after inhaling the secondary smoke.

In recent years, the number of children suffering from asthma has more than doubled, and the reason for this is the negative impact of the environment.

Wood and gas stoves

indoor pollution
indoor pollution

Incorrectly installed and poorly ventilated wood furnaces can emit gases, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen, particulates and hydrogen carbonates. Children who live in houses with wood-burning stoves are more likely to suffer from respiratory diseases. Gas stoves that are poorly ventilated or used as a heater can release nitrogen dioxide, which can cause respiratory diseases. Use electric cookers.

The yellow flame of the plate indicates its incorrect installation. In this case, contact a specialist. If you are going to buy a new plate, choose one that does not have a ignitor.

If you use a wood stove, make sure that the doors are snug. Use only completely dry logs. Never use pressure-treated firewood, because chemicals are used in this process.

Check chimneys, vent pipes and gas boilers every year.

Construction Materials

Contact with building materials, products used in repairs, and textiles can cause health problems. For example, particle boards, insulation, carpet adhesives and other household products can emit formaldehyde, which can cause nausea, respiratory problems, dryness, skin inflammation and eye irritation. The acutest problem is new homes and mobile homes. The use of safe products that contain little or no volatile organic compounds can reduce the chemical load on your body.

“Syndrome of a sick home” and asthma associated with environmental conditions inside the building

Specialists use the term “sick home syndrome” to describe symptoms that occur in a certain room and are not caused by any disease or cause. These symptoms include headache, dry cough, dry skin and itching, drowsiness, impaired concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat. As a rule, these symptoms pass as soon as you leave the room.

The cause of this syndrome may be poor ventilation. Carpet, adhesives, sheathing, industrial wood, copiers, pesticides and detergents can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), among them formaldehyde. High concentrations of VOCs can cause cancer. Unvented gas and kerosene heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces and gas stoves can emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

External sources of chemicals can also cause “sick home syndrome”. Exhaust gases, pairs of water systems and exhausts of construction equipment can enter the building through the ventilation system.

In turn, asthma associated with indoor environmental conditions is a term that is used if the symptoms of the disease are associated with harmful particles that are carried through the air inside the building. These symptoms include coughing, chest tightness and wheezing and do not go away if you leave the room.

Bacteria, mold, viruses and other biological particles

Bacteria, mold and viruses accumulate in stagnant water, which collects in humidifiers, drainage pans, pipes, carpet, ceramic ceiling and insulation. Fever is a disease that causes toxins of microorganisms that multiply in large heating and ventilation systems of buildings, but they can also be in systems of private houses and humidifiers. Legionella pneumophila is a bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Animal wool, pollen, household mites, mold, urine of rats and mice are allergens that cause asthma, allergic rhinitis and other lung diseases. Symptoms of the disease that are caused by biological irritants include sneezing, eye irritation, difficulty breathing, lethargy, drowsiness, indigestion.

Although the studies did not yield convincing results, but according to observations, early contact with household allergens such as mold can cause a severe allergic reaction in the future. An allergy to mold can exacerbate asthma attacks or cause asthmatic symptoms.

To reduce the number of allergens, keep the house clean. There are many ways to control the accumulation of dust and household ticks in the house, for example, wash bed linens in hot water, clean interior items that collect dust (curtains). There are also many ways to control the accumulation of animal hair and other allergens.

Exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom will help to get rid of excessive humidity, which is favorable for the development of microorganisms such as mold. Wetting of modern building materials creates a favorable environment for the development of mold, which can exacerbate asthma attacks and cause other symptoms of respiratory diseases. Airing attics and cellars, as well as air humidity below 50% will help prevent accumulation of moisture in building materials. There are other ways that can help control mold accumulation, such as preventing leaks, removing wet materials, storing firewood for the fireplace outdoors and using a moisture eliminator during wet weather.

Watch for the purity of the humidifiers and fill them every day with fresh water. Often clean the drainage pallets of air conditioners, moisture eliminators and refrigerators. Wet carpets and building materials can also contain mold and bacteria. It is very difficult to get rid of bacteria and mold, so replace all the soaked materials.

You can also:

  • Replace the carpet with wooden or tiled.
  • Put up the sofas with a cover that can be removed and washed.
  • Use blinds, not curtains, which collect a lot of dust.
  • Install in some rooms, especially in the bedroom, air filters.

Household products

Many of the products that you use to clean the house, during your favorite occupation and for repair contain potentially hazardous chemicals. Some of them can be toxic and in sufficient doses can cause respiratory problems, headache, drowsiness, visual impairment and memory loss. The most important way in which you can protect yourself is to follow the instructions on the label. If you use detergents or other products to ensure good ventilation, open windows or use an exhaust fan. Never mix household chemicals, such as chlorine and ammonium. Some mixtures can release vapors that can be life-threatening.

Better use environmentally friendly products. Vinegar, lemon juice, boric acid and baking soda can be used as cleaning agents, besides they do less harm to you and the environment. Be especially careful with products that contain methylene chloride, among such products, a liquid for removing paint, solvents and aerosol paints. If you use products that contain such chemicals, ensure good ventilation or use them outdoors. To avoid contact with the skin, wear gloves. But in any case, try to use products that are safe for the environment.

Avoid contact with benzene, it can cause cancer. Benzene is part of tobacco smoke, fuel, paint and exhaust. Also, limit contact with clothing and furniture that has undergone a dry cleaning. Cleaners, which are used for dry cleaning, release perchlorethylene (tetrachlorethylene) and trichlorethylene. These chemicals cause a rash, headache, drowsiness. If, after dry cleaning, a strong smell emanates from the clothes, it may not have dried well enough and evaporates the chemicals. After removing the cover, hang clothes for a while on the street. Find a dry cleaner that uses less toxic chemicals.


Asbestos is an insulating material that was used in the 1950s and 1970s for soundproofing, covering floors and ceilings, as well as insulation of water pipes and heating pipes. If this material is in good condition, it is not a health hazard, but if it is demolished and begins to crumble, its particles can get into the air. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, asbestosis (coarsening of lung tissue) or mesothelioma.


Radon is a radioactive gas that has neither color nor smell, it enters the house through cracks in concrete walls and floors, and through a drainage system. The main source of radon is uranium, which is contained in the soil or stones on which the house is built. The problem arises when the concentration of radon in a building rises. This problem can arise in new and old houses, even if they do not have a basement.

The effect of radon is the second major cause of cancer. (In the first place cigarette smoke.) Contact with radon increases the risk of cancer in a smoker by 12 times, compared with non-smokers.

You can not feel or see radon, but you can identify it with a tester that is sold in the store.

Control of indoor pollution

The body’s response to harmful particles depends on age, health and sensitivity to various chemical and biological pollutants, for example, bacteria. Treatment can consist only of limiting contact with toxins in the home. In some cases, after long and frequent contact, serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases can develop. In this case, the treatment can be quite long and depends on the type of the disease.

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