Causes of Indoor Polution
Indoor pollution sources that release
gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor
air quality problems in homes.
Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels
by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions
from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants
out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can
also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home.
These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene,
coal, wood, and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings
as diverse as deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation,
wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain
pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and
maintenance, personal care, or hobbies; central heating and
cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources
such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution.
The relative importance of any single source depends on how
much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those
emissions are. In some cases, factors such as how old the
source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant.
For example, an improperly adjusted gas stove can emit significantly
more carbon monoxide than one that is properly adjusted.
Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and
household products like air fresheners, release pollutants
more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities
carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently.
These include smoking, the use of unvented or malfunction-ing
stoves, furnaces, or space heaters, the use of solvents in
cleaning and hobby activities, the use of paint strippers
in redecorating activities, and the use of cleaning products
and pesticides in housekeeping. High pollutant concentrations
can remain in the air for long periods after some of these