Saturday, 16 September 2017

Hidden Air Pollutants

In happiness, in pain, in loss, in gain, in stress, in relief, we always tend to breathe!
Have you ever wondered that breathing not only involves taking in oxygen but also other gases and substances present in the air?
These tiny particles which couldn't be seen with the naked eye could impose a greater threat than the visible ones.

We all have heard of air pollution and its causes. Consequently, we are also making efforts and changes in our lifestyle to make the environment clean and pollution free. But are we familiar with the fact that polluted air is not only present outside but everywhere, in our homes, workplaces, schools, gyms, shopping centers, hospitals, and other public and private buildings too?
Indoor air tends to be more contaminated and harmful to your health as compared to the outdoors since the outdoor air pollutants are widely scattered in the open space so their concentration is very low whereas in the buildings, the air pollutants happen to be much more concentrated due to lack of space and sources of fresh air.

Another reason of indoor air pollution being more alarming to mankind is that most of our lives is spent living indoors. Mostly, people are outdoors only when they are travelling from one place to another which comprises only 10-30% of their day.
Unfortunately, children are the ones who suffer the most from indoor air pollution since they are always indoors and are more prone to getting affected.

Since childhood we make an image of air pollution in our mind as the smoke coming out of chimneys, industries and vehicles as it's shown in the diagrams of science books but there's much more to air pollution and there are many other sources of airborne pollutants that we have been overlooking over the years!

Apparently there are many sources, certain activities and products used inside the buildings that can cause indoor air pollution.

Harmful Areas In Your Bedroom

Air Conditioning Ducts
If the air conditioning ducts are not clean then mold can grow inside the air conditioner due to moisture and dirt. This mold is spread into air every time the AC is switched on. This can cause wide range of infections from mild allergies to severe illness. One should get their AC cleaned up frequently to prevent the growth of mold inside it. Presence of mold can be detected if you smell a peculiar odour on switching on the AC.

Dust in Mattresses and Carpets
Over the time dust particles get collected into the mattress and carpets. The dust inside them becomes the fertile grounds of dust mites which release into the air if one tries to remove the dust from the mattresses or carpets. It is highly recommended to clean them outside the house or use a trusted vacuum cleaner to avoid dust mites to spread into indoor air.

Air Spoilers In Your Living Room and Office

Mosquito Repellents
Mosquito repellents such as coils and sprays are often used at our homes and workplaces to get rid of disease prone mosquitoes. However, these repellents apparently contain a high amount of particulate matter that increases pollution levels of indoor air to a great extent.
It is always advisable to use such sprays in the absence of children, pets and even adults. Additionally having a good ventilation and using exhaust fans afterwards clean the air by replacing the contaminated air with fresh air.

Air Fresheners or Air Pollutants?
Commercial air fresheners are used almost in every house and office buildings to keep the foul smell away and for maintaining nice aroma inside the room. However, air fresheners do not actually kill the foul smell, indeed they just mask all other odours.
Moreover, these sprays are known to emit dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde and aerosol pollutants which can cause adverse effects to our body such as dizziness, headaches, asthma and other breathing problems.
Use of commercial air fresheners can be minimized or replaced by an alternative of natural and homemade air fresheners by diluting essentials oils into water which have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Also, they smell great!
Another way is using baking soda as an alternative of commercial room spray. Baking soda is known to effectively absorb foul odours. You can combine baking soda with any aroma imparting liquids like lemon juice or rosewater, etc.

Alarming Activities In Your Kitchen

Faulty Gas Burners
Faulty gas stoves can cause incomplete combustion of flame while cooking which leads to increased emission of Carbon Monoxide which is a toxic gas. Presence of carbon monoxide in air can cause several health problems such as chest pain, weakness, vomiting, just to name a few.
To reduce the risks of CO emissions, one should immediately get their gas stoves checked if they notice an abnormal color in the flame and always use exhaust fans in kitchen after cooking.

Biomass Cooking
Biomass fuels are the fuels obtained from organic materials such as plant waste, wood, charcoal, cow dung and other animal matter. These are easily available in local markets and extremely inexpensive which is why many people belonging to low-income group prefer using this means for cooking in their homes. Despite being an easy option for cooking, this is the most hazardous option too. Since, burning biomass produces large amounts of harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). Both these gases contribute largely to respiratory problems and could even cause fatality.
Opting for a cleaner source like bio-gas which is obtained by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, is an effective alternative way to replace biomass fuels since it is equally available and affordable.

Troublesome Areas and Products In Your Bathroom

Problematic Areas
Shower heads, faucets, sinks and toilet seats in bathroom can accumulate unwanted bacteria over time due to moisture or leakage. Moreover, mold can start growing on the surface of walls due to moisture. These bacteria and mold contaminate the air inside your bathroom and can cause various allergies and infections.
Keeping the bathroom clean using disinfectants and environment friendly cleaners is the only way to avoid such situations.

Critical Cleaners
Some bathroom cleaners and sprays tend to release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and chemicals into the air that are of serious health concern. Volatile organic compounds when emitted into air can cause several problems like asthma, headache, irritation in eyes, skin conditions, etc.
As a preventive measure, one should always tighten the lids of such products after use and keep proper ventilation in bathroom. You can also use an alternative homemade cleaner that can be made by simple ingredients such as baking soda or vinegar.

Gas geysers
Gas geysers or gas water heaters are used to increase the temperature of water by burning LPG or natural gas. This results in producing carbon monoxide inside the four walls of bathroom which is very dangerous and can even cause death if it is installed in a confined space. It is generally not advisable to install gas geysers due to life risk. But if anyone considers using it, they should make sure to install it in a spacious bathroom which has proper ventilation.

These were some of the overlooked sources of indoor air pollutants that need to be addressed.
Thankfully, Asian Paints has launched a product called 'Royale Atmos' air purifying wall paint with #CleanAirBeautifulHomes initiative which will not only make your homes 'look beautiful' but 'feel healthier' too. It has activated carbon technology and since activated carbon is known to be a good adsorbant, it will help in reducing air pollutants such as formaldehyde from the air resulting in a cleaner and aromatic indoor air for us to breathe.
To know more about Royale Atmos, visit
  1. Thanks for writing about it Deeshani and commend the amount of research cum hardwork that you have in a post to spread difference to healthy living.


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