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Indoor Air Pollution: a public health issue

Many people are unaware of indoor air pollution, which is not as mediatized as outdoor pollution. And yet, we spend an average of 80% to 90% of our time in closed areas (home, office, school, public facilities, etc.). The air that we breathe is 5 to 7 times more polluted than the air outdoors.


Where does indoor pollution come from?

Confined areas expose us to several different types of pollutants:

  • Chemical pollutants: tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide (CO) from fuel-burning appliances, VOCs from treated wood, glues, paints, cleaning products, candles, air fresheners, etc.

  • Biological pollutants (bio-contamination): they come from living organisms (animals, plants, molds, etc.). Their proliferation is favored by humidity and heat.

  • Particles: dust contains airbone particles that can be inhaled.

  • Humidity: it is an indirect source of pollution. A humid housing contributes to the spreading of molds and dust mites.

Also, be careful about confined areas: in a poorly ventilated room, the air can be saturated in carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the breathing.

Home air pollution comes from a number of different sources. They also depend on the inhabitants’ activities (e.g. smoking, DIY, cooking, cleaning, etc.) and on the characteristics of the home (e.g. isolation, ventilation, etc).

Also, as homes are increasingly constructed to be airtight, they are more exposed to indoor air pollution.


How does indoor air pollution affect our health?

The impact of indoor air pollution has been reported by many scientific studies. In some cases, you may barely notice the pollutants: they cause unpleasant odours, fatigue or sleepiness. Or the impact can be more worrisome: headaches, dizziness, skin irritation or watery eyes. In more serious instances, the pollution may exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma. In the most extreme cases it can be life-threatening, leading to poisoning, heart attacks or cancer.


When the household includes pregnant women, infants, elderly people or asthma sufferers, you need to be especially careful.

Indoor pollution poses a greater risk to such people because they are more fragile, and also because they spend more time inside.


Indoor air quality: facts and figures

  • On average, we spend 80% to 90 % of our time indoors

  • Indoor air is 5 to 7 times more polluted than the outdoor air

  • Nearly one person out of five has felt the effects of indoor air pollution, or noticed the effect on people around them


  • Each year, indoor air pollution causes the untimely death of 3.3mn people in the world.

  • Nearly 3% of the global cost of illness is due to indoor air pollution

  • In France, the overall cost of inadequate air quality is estimated at €19 billion per year.

Some indoor air quality monitors contribute to efficiently control the level of pollution in your home. For example, the range of wireless sensors from NEXELEC continuously analyze and compare the measures of temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, fine particles or carbon dioxide. Based on its Edge Computing architecture and IZIAIR embedded algorithm, these sensors calculate an indoor air quality index to help you take the appropriate actions.


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