Indoor Air Pollution-Meaning:
  • If indoor air is contaminated by smoke, chemicals, smells, or particles.
  • Unlike outdoor air pollution, the effect of indoor air pollution is health-related and less of an environmental issue.


  • In colder regions, building and heating methods make use of airtight spaces, less ventilation, and energy-efficient heating.
  • Sometimes synthetic building materials smells from household care and furnishing chemicals can all be trapped indoors.
  • As less fresh air gets indoors, the concentration of pollutants such as pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, pesticides, radon, asbestos and carbon monoxide trapped inside the building increases and people breathe in.
Common indoor air pollutants:


  • Tobacco smoke: smoke burning cigarettes or exhaled smoke by people smoking.
  • Biological Pollutants: These include allergens such as pollen from plants, hair from pets, fungi and some bacteria.
  • Radon: This is a gas that is naturally emitted from the ground. Radon can be trapped in basements of buildings and homes. The gas is known to cause cancer after exposure over a period.
  • Carbon Monoxide: This is a poisonous gas with no color or smell. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal or wood do not burn fully.
  • Formaldehyde is a gas that comes mainly from carpets, particle boards, and insulation foam. It causes irritation to the eyes and nose and may cause allergies in some people.
  • Asbestos is mainly a concern because it is suspected to cause cancer.
Effects of Indoor Air Pollution on Health


  • On the Vulnerable sections About 2 million premature deaths per year, wherein 44% are due to pneumonia, 54% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 2% from lung cancer.
  • The most affected groups are women and younger children, as they spend maximum time at home.
  • The illnesses associated with indoor air pollution are respiratory illnesses, viz., acute respiratory tract infection and COPD, poor perinatal outcomes such as low birth weight and stillbirth, cancer of nasopharynx, larynx, lung, and leukemia.
  • The harmful health effects of formaldehyde range from being an acute irritant, reducing vital capacity, causing bronchitis, to being a carcinogen causing leukemia and lung cancer.
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