Ambient Air, CANCER-CHECK: Ambient Air

AIRBORNE: INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

Air quality is just as important in our homes as it is outside of them.

And here’s the reason why.

DOMESTIC ACTIVITIES

Ever sprayed a can of perfume…

Or lit up an LPG gas cylinder for domestic cooking…

Ever painted your house…

Or just moved in that sleek furniture shining with creamy varnish…

These are different ways volatile organic compounds could find their way into our homes.

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs)

VOCs are simply organic chemicals that evaporate rapidly converting into gases in our air.

But what makes them an issue of concern at home is their presence in activities or things we see as normal…

paints and solvents…

wood preservatives…

sprays…

moth repellants…

dry cleaning clothes.

This is besides other things or environments around us at work such as:

office copiers/printers…

adhesives

permanent markers…

air around petrol station attendants etc.

When their levels in ambient air are significantly high, they are known to lead to nausea, dizziness, headaches, allergies etc.

Long time exposure to them may also lead to major organ damage and possibly cancer.

Though we might not avoid the airborne presence of VOCs such as formaldehyde, several simple strategies are important to reduce exposure.

INDOOR VENTILATION

This could be as simple as opening the widows and doors of the house.

The effects of not doing so may be felt through increased dizziness, nausea and fatigue.

It is especially important for families moving into freshly painted homes to allow for the volatiles levels to fall off before moving in.

Also, while cooking, it would help to open up windows to allow escape of volatiles released by incomplete combustion of LPG gas.

But VOCs are also significant on the occupational front.

If working as a carpenter, garage attendant or petrol station attendant, ensure that the area is aerated to allow reduction of VOC levels.

This is especially important since these occupations have a higher than normal exposure to benzene, one of the riskiest volatiles around.

LEUKEMIA

Long term exposure to benzene (and related derivatives) is linked to the development of leukemia.

Therefore several occupational strategies are essential especially among those working in chemical fields with a higher than normal airborne benzene levels.

Several occupations come to mind in this regard:

Workers in the petroleum industries…

Carpenters who use ‘petroleum’ related products such as turpentine or varnish.

But also benzene pollution of household air is of great concern due to the presence of children whose immune systems are still developing.

Households which use kerosene, charcoal for cooking or with a tobacco smoker must therefore take precaution by investing in good ventillation.

Besides ventilation, special air filters might be useful for high exposure environmentts such as industries.

It might also help to get rid of empty spray and perfume cans while keeping those in use out of reach of children.

IN CONCLUSION

Indoor air quality might in the long run prove very key due to it’s linkage to diseases such as cancer.

We spend most of our time indoors.

So we must guard it not only for ourselves but for our kids.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s