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Domestic pollution, all the info

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Domestic pollution: what it is, causes and advice to reduce it. An updated research on the main pollutants that we find in the home.

To fight thedomestic pollution it is necessary to minimize the main dangers that are hidden in our homes such as: fine dust, molds, mites, bacteria, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and a large family of molecules known as "volatile organic compounds".

Prolonged exposure to these substances can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, headache and asthma. To limit the'Domestic pollution just follow some small tricks that we will give you in the course of this article.

Domestic pollution: what it is

We think that our home is a safe, healthy and uncontaminated environment… Unfortunately this is not the case. During our stay in the house we are exposed to the so-calleddomestic pollution, what is it? What is it and what are the causes?

It is important to clarify a concept: in all closed environments the pollutants that we find outside also add up to the internal ones. If you are looking for onedefinitionof the term "domestic pollution" let's try to satisfy you:

Domestic pollution can be defined as the contamination of a closed living environment, caused by inorganic or organic agents, including bacteria and microorganisms deriving from various human activities or from poor house management.

This is oursdefinitionofdomestic pollutionand very much reflects reality.

Domestic pollution: research

According to recent research conducted by Velux, alarming data emerged:

  • 80 million European citizens live in houses where the air is unhealthy (with high levels ofdomestic pollution)
  • One third of European citizens suffer from asthma and allergies potentially attributable toindoor pollution
  • Only 28% of European citizens perform air changes several times during a day (the estimate took the winter period as a reference, where 72% of citizens only perform an air change in the morning)

In addition to the Velux research, other data collected by institutions and universities are added:

  • According to oneResearchof the WHO (World Health Organization), people spend 90% of their time indoors.
  • EPA reports that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
  • A research by IBP Fraunhofer reports that living in damp and moldy houses (therefore with low air quality) increases the risk of asthma by 40%.
  • AResearchconducted by the Danish Institute for Construction Research, in partnership with the University of Copenhagen, highlighted that in the home, the most polluted room is the children's room.

Thecausescan be multiple and should be analyzed house by house: thecausesthey are strictly connected to human activities and therefore to the habits of those who live in the house. Let's deepen it in the next paragraph.

Domestic pollution: causes

First of all, there are furniture, furnishings and finishes. Paints, adhesives, construction materials as well as furniture and finishes, give off harmful emissions.

  • Furniture
  • Paints
  • Solvents
  • Sealants
  • Colle
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Detergents
  • Liquid waxes
  • Sprays and hygiene products
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Spray cosmetics
  • Insecticides

How can these elements be the cause of domestic pollution? Because these materials are those most in direct contact with those who live in the house. The components that make up these materials release "polluting emissions" into the air. Among the compounds they release we point out:

  • Benzene
  • 1,2 Dichlorobenzene
  • Nitrobenzene
  • Butyl acetate
  • Xylene
  • Propanol
  • 2-Butanol
  • Butanol
  • Acetone
  • Methylene acetate
  • Methyl alcohol
  • Toulene
  • Tetrachlorethylene
  • Light oil fractions
  • Formaldehyde
  • Isothiazolinone
  • Amine esters
  • Ammonia
  • Silicone compounds
  • Phthalates
  • Cadmium oxides
  • Cobalt oxides
  • Vanadium
  • Ozone
  • Radon
  • Particulate matter
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • ….

It is difficult to think that these compounds are present in the air you breathe at home. How do they get there? Formaldehyde is one of the most common preservatives used in furniture and furnishing components. Glues, adhesives and sealants you have at home (even those to seal the fixtures) release polyglycol products and among the paints we can find heavy metals. The list above shows common solvents, many of which may have carcinogenic effects (nitrobenzene is referred to as a "suspected carcinogen", benzene can cause cancer and genetic alterations ...).

Then there are otherspollutantsdirectly linked to our activities: those that we release when we clean the house, those that we release when we cook or operate the boiler ... Carbon dioxide (CO2) is linked to breathing and human activity.

The list above includes many solvents found in the products we use for cleaning the house. Perfumes also cause home pollution. In soaps, benzophenone is used, a fixative that is used to "fix" a perfume to a compound that would be odorless or malodorous. Benzophenone is used not only in soaps for personal hygiene but also in insecticides.

How to reduce domestic pollution

Probably, after reading thecauses of domestic pollutionyou are alarmed and think there is no escape. You are wrong! It is true that the sources of domestic pollutionthey are numerous and difficult to manage, but it is also true that with green building and using natural products it is possible to reduce this pollution to a minimum.

Here are some tips forreduceoreliminate sources of domestic pollution:

  • Try to eliminate products that contain volatile compounds, replacing them with compounds with a low rate of V.O.C. Useful advice if you need to paint your home or change a coating.
  • Clean the house by limiting the use of detergents. You can clean the house with natural remedies, baking soda, vinegar or lemon can be excellent allies.
  • Ventilate the premises in the house, it is necessary to reduce the number of volatile compounds present. Make more air changes a day even in winter.
  • Install a controlled ventilation system with filters to purify the air.
  • Avoid the use of home deodorants, preferring at least natural ones such as, for example, essential oils.
  • Ventilate dry-cleaned clothes.
  • Use natural laundry detergents or wash only with vinegar which, in addition, softens the fabrics!
  • Periodically clean the upholstery in the living room such as carpets, curtains and pillows.
  • If necessary, install an extractor hood in the kitchen and in the bathroom, it serves to convey the fumes outside the home, such as detergents, dishwasher vapors and shower vapors, rich in foaming agents.
  • Decorate your home with plants, many of these are able to reduce the presence of volatile substances such as ivy, azaleas, aloe vera, ficus, lilies, gerberas and chrysanthemums.
  • Make sure there is no humidity in the house, mold on the walls, water leaks, infiltration problems.
  • Use low environmental impact insulation materials.
  • Prefer hairspray hair gel and stick deodorant to sprays.
  • At the time of purchase, make sure that the plywood cabinets and furniture have the certification that meets the standards of low formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds emissions.
  • If you have bought a new non-certified piece of furniture, leave the doors and drawers open for a long time before bringing the furniture home.
  • As an alternative to classic furniture, you can buy solid wood furniture made by a carpenter and treated only with natural waxes and dyes.

You might also be interested in

  • How to reduce domestic pollution
  • How to purify the air at home


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