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Indoor Air Quality and Health

Indoor air quality in buildings where we spend most of our life has a significant impact on human health. With the researches and the increase of awareness in recent years, measures have been taken for pollutants that adversely affect indoor air quality.

We spend most of our days in closed environments in order to meet our needs for accommodation, work, education and so on. It has been proven by many studies that the air in closed areas is contaminated with various gases and particle-sized pollutants that threaten our health. Again, researches show that we spend approximately 2 hours of our time daily outside. The results of this research also show that our interaction with air occurs mostly during the time we are in closed environments.

Experts say that indoor air affects people indoors. For this reason, people with respiratory and heart problems, as well as developing babies and children, are at serious risk.

We can divide the measures to be taken against indoor air quality into two. Control methods are determined specifically for the source of pollution, while remedial measures are measures taken to protect human health in order to ensure healthy indoor air quality. There is more than one source that will cause the presence of indoor air pollutants, which are parameters that can cause serious health problems.

Main Sources of Indoor

  • Pollutants
  • Indoor sources (building materials, combustion sources, etc.)
  • Outdoor sources
  • Natural and mechanical indoor and outdoor air exchangers
  • The dispersion between building and compartments
  • Physical conditions in the indoor environment (humidity, temperature, etc.)
  • Living creatures in the building
 

Reducing sources of pollution that adversely affect indoor air quality or reducing emissions of these pollutants is the most effective way to improve indoor air quality. Such as sealing and surrounding a source containing asbestos.

Increasing the amount of air entering the indoor environment by ventilating indoor areas will also reduce the concentrations of indoor pollutants. Many heating and cooling systems that use air heaters compulsorily cannot mechanically deliver fresh air to the building. For this reason, it is necessary to open windows and doors or to operate window type air conditioners by increasing the outdoor ventilation rate as weather conditions allow. Fans in the kitchen and bathroom directly remove the pollutants in their environment and increase the ventilation rate of the outdoor environment.

The welding control method can also be applied for activities such as painting, stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking or maintenance and welding, soldering, sanding, etc. that generate a lot of emission in a short time. It may be more appropriate to carry out these operations with appropriate ventilation systems to the extent that weather conditions allow.

Generally, air purifiers designed to remove particulate matter are available in many types and sizes on the market. These range from partially inexpensive tabletop room cleaners to more expensive types designed for the whole building.

Some air cleaners are highly efficient at cleaning various items, while others, including tabletop models, are not. The efficiency of an air purifier depends on how well the device collects particles in the indoor environment and how much air it draws from its filter. There are many pollutant factors in indoor environments. These pollutants can vary according to the location of the building and building construction features, and even between rooms in the same building. Indoor pollutants from outdoor or indoor sources include airborne respirable particles, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), photochemical oxidants, lead, and some oxidants.

Some of the Pollutants Affecting Indoor Air Quality

Asbestos: It spreads from old, damaged or degraded insulation materials, fire-resistant materials and floor coverings. Even if it is not damaged, materials containing asbestos should be removed from the environment by trained and qualified people.

Carbon monoxide (CO): Kerosene and gas heaters with no output, leaky chimneys and furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, burning surfaces, gas stoves, automobile exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke emit carbon monoxide.

Cigarette smoke: It is caused by smoking cigarettes, pipes and cigars in the environment.

Formaldehyde: Pressed wood products and furniture are sourced from urea-formaldehyde insulating material and cigarette smoke, combustion products.

Lead: It is caused by lead-based paint, contaminated soil, dust, and drinking water.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): Kerosene heaters are caused by no-exit gas stoves, heaters and cigarette smoke.

Biological substances: Originating from wet or damp walls, ceilings, carpets and furniture, untreated humidifiers, air conditioners and pets.

Organic gases: Paints, paint solvents and other solvents, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, moth remedies, stored petroleum and automotive products, dry cleaning agents are the main factors that cause organic vapour formation.

Pesticides: Insecticides, termiticides and disinfectants used to kill living insects in the environment spread pesticides to the environment. At the same time, products used in fields and gardens cause pesticides to be transported to the environments we live in overtime.

Moulds: Moulds are a bigger problem, especially in well-insulated houses with central heating.

Household dust: Household dust contains food and food preparation residues, hair and skin debris from humans and animals, textile fibres, furniture and construction material waste, cleaners. Household use of aerosols (smoke, fog, spray), known as the dispersion of a solid or liquid in a gas environment, can be particularly dangerous.

Volatile Organic Compounds (Volatile Organic Compounds, VOC): Volatile organic compounds, which can be irritant, neurotoxic or carcinogenic, can enter the home environment for many reasons, from chlorine in the water to home polish, from outdoor air to shoe polish. Pesticides used outside the home can enter the residential environment, as well as pesticides used in the home can cause the formation of dangerous particles.

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