Indoor Air Pollution-Symptoms,Source, Causes, Effects & More

Indoor Air Pollution is a major issue that most often goes unnoticedWhen speaking of pollution, a ghastly image of massive smokes, spurts of dark waters, and hoards of garbage piled high up to the skies comes to our mind. There is no denying that this is a real-time reality today, but did you know that indoor air pollution is just as big a problem as outdoor pollution. But how come we hardly acknowledge it? Let alone act upon it. But before that, what is Indoor air pollution, and how does it impact our lives? Let us examine: 


The ‘ goodness’ of air is measured as Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). This is the measurement of the quality of the air around us. IAQ also comprises the area around buildings and structures, about the health of the occupants at these places. To understand air pollution, it also relevant to understand the subsequent risks it imposes on one’s health. The important fact is that the effects of air pollution can be immediate or long-term, and this depends upon various factors. But before that, what are the symptoms of air pollution? Let us find out.

The immediate symptoms of Air Pollution

immediiate symptoms of air pollution

The symptoms can be instant; sometimes, immediately after exposure to the pollutant. These includes:

    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Irritation of the eyes
    • Irritation of the nose
    • Irritation in the throat

The good news is that most of these symptoms are very much treatable and can be cured completely.

Source of Indoor Air Pollution

The sources of indoor air pollution are responsible for the release of particles or gases that render the indoor air to get polluted. Also, lack of proper ventilation can lead to a lack of ‘air exchange’ that can cause the pollutant elements to stay trap indoors. The other factors that lend to the problem are high humidity and temperatures. Some common sources of indoor pollution are:

    • Appliances that operate on the combustion of the burning of fuel.
    • Tobacco
    • Flooring that has been installed lately.
    • Pressed wood is used in the construction of new furniture.
    • Certain cleaning products like aerosols, personal care, etc.
    • Humidification, central heating, and cooling devices.
    • Too much moisture.

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

causes of indoor pollution

Air pollution in your home can be ’caused due to various factors:

    • Cooking: Yes, the very food that you eat can be the cause of indoor air pollution. This is mainly due to the smoke that arises from the cooking or burning of cooking fuels like coal and wood. 
    • Smoking: Did you know that smoking is not only injurious to your lungs but also contributes to Indoor pollution? Smoking tobacco in the long term can lead to a considerable amount of pollutants in the air within the home.
    • The use of synthetic materials for the construction of modern structures has also grown to be one of the prime reasons for household pollution
    • Large-scale utilization of pesticides, home care products regularly lead to indoor air pollution. 

Major Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor Air Pollutants

So, how does one understand what some of the main indoor air pollutants are and what are they called? Here are a few popular names that one must get familiar with:

    • Asbestos
    • Radon
    • Volatile organic compounds
    • Solvents
    • Pesticides
    • Carbon Monoxide
    • Built Environment
    • Occupation related contaminants

Effects of Indoor Air pollution

Indoor air pollution is more than just ‘bad air’. It is very much a matter of concern and can affect the health of people around substantially. However, as mentioned previously, these are categorized into Immediate effects and long-term effects. Let us examine each of these closely:

Immediate Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

immediate effects of indoor air pollution

The immediate effects of internal pollution depend greatly on the age and any pre-existing conditions of the occupants. Also, cases of individual sensitivity go a long way in causing immediate effects of indoor pollution. Many times, we tend to develop a bad case of flu or viral infection when in a closed space. To rule out the causes, it is important to analyze the symptoms and their place and time of occurrence. If the symptoms tend to fade away when one moves out of a place, it should be understood that the reason is the indoor air pollution of a place. 

In case of a pre-existing problem, exposure to indoor air pollution can lead to worsening of issues like Asthma or other breathing-related illnesses. So, it is recommended that one must pay attention to when and how a certain condition initiates for a better ‘catch’ at the problem. After the correct diagnosis has been conducted, it will be easy for the individual to distance themselves from the area of concern simply. 

Long Term Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

long term effects of indoor air pollution

While the immediate effects can get irritating, the long-term effects are nothing short of dangerous. This is mainly because we might live in blissful ignorance for years only to develop a serious health issue years later. Not so surprisingly, illnesses such as respiratory diseases, heart diseases, and even Cancer can find their roots in air pollution in your home. Subsequently, it is advisable to take serious steps to improvise indoor air quality from the start. Also, one must understand that the issue of indoor air pollution and its effects on people varies with individuals. There is no evidence or signs that can help you ‘pinpoint’ a certain cause, reason, and its immediate effect on a person. 

How can we prevent/reduce Indoor air pollution?


So, now that we know all that there is to about indoor air pollution and its causes, what can we do about it? Well, plenty to start with. Even though the issue is serious and should not be ignored, one must take charge from the very start. Here are a few pointers on how you can reduce indoor air pollution:

    • It is advised to utilize energy-efficient cooking options.
    • Also, installing a chimney is the call of the day.
    • Replace the match stick with electronic lighters.
    • Replace coal and wood with LPG and solar cookers.
    • Quit smoking, once and for all.

Indoor Air Pollution-FAQs

    • Carbon Monoxide: This colourless and odourless gas is released from appliances, heaters, burning of Natural gases, oil, wood, Propane, Kerosene.   
    • Environmental Tobacco Smoke: This comprises more than 3800 chemical compounds.         
    • Radon: This is a radioactive gas that is released from the natural breakdown of rock and soil. It enters the home through seeps and cracks in the floors and walls.          
    • Moulds: Found in most homes, as these require moisture for growth. Grow in damp basements, refrigerators, humidifiers, mattresses, under the ceiling panels, and behind the walls. 

Cooking, Smoking, and leakage of pollutants from outdoors.

You can clean the indoor air by various means:

    • Proper ventilation.
    • Use of good quality materials for construction.
    • Installing chimneys where necessary.
    • Reduce the use of coal/wood/ for cooking.

This can be done through various methods such as:

    • Indoor air quality monitors.
    • Installing the Carbon Monoxide alarms.
    • Conducting the Radon test.

By making smart choices when it comes to your fuel, lifestyle habits, cleaning materials used, and also the construction of your home.


Indoor air pollution is one of the most neglected aspects of our modern lifestyle. While we invest in various aspects such as good furniture, interiors, and appliances, we hardly notice the tiny little pollutants slowly making a home within our homes. While immediate detection of indoor pollution and its effects cannot take place, we must take charge of our lifestyle choices from the start. Smart installations for detection, a suitable choice of construction materials, smoking, and the use of harmful fuels can go a long way in ensuring our health is not compromised. A home is a safe place to be; make sure it stays that way too.

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