Technology for Improvement of Indoor Air Quality


Indoor pollution is defined as “The presence in indoors air the physical, chemical and biological contaminants not normally present in outdoor air of high quality”.  In today's world people spend more than 90% of their time inside close spaces, where levels of a many common organic pollutants can be twelve times higher than outside. Indoor air pollution ranks among the top five major hazardous health issues and is a global concern. Major impact of indoor air pollution is seen in hospitals, offices, factories, malls, residential complexes, IT parks etc. Indoor pollution is now considered by many experts to be one of the major threats to human health.  Toxicity of some Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is tested and it is seen that they are hazardous to health.

The sources of Indoor air pollutants include asbestos, pesticides, fibers from clothing, curtains, carpets, insulation, etc., fungi and bacteria, human coughs, sneezes, sweat, etc., tobacco smoke, ozone, chemicals from detergents, solvents, and cleaning fluids, etc.  Different types of Indoor Pollutants and their sources are: D.Trans-Elthrin and CO-mosquito repellents, para dichlorobenzene and napthalene-room freshners, paints, NO2 and CO-smoke in the kitchen, alcohol and acetone-cosmetics, formaldehyde-grocery bags, paper towels, paints, floor coverings, air freshners, xylene-computer and video screens, ammonia-cleaning products, trichloroethelene-perfumes.

High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. Long term exposure to these chemical vapours has brought dramatic increase in the number of health issues. These Indoor pollutants, even at very low levels, can cause Sick Building Syndrome and symptoms of headache, sore eyes, nose and throat, or nausea.  Dust, moulds and fuel burning, gases through repellents, gases from smoke of joss sticks etc. also add up to Indoor pollutants. The pioneering screening studies on indoor-air VOC removal by plants showed reductions in VOC levels with over 50 species. Wolverton suggested that both plants and potting-mix microorganisms could be involved in the process. Indoor plants were tested in situ for their ability to remove VOCs in buildings.

Allethrin is an insecticide which is widely used as a mosquito repellent in mosquito coil. It is noted that several hundred tonnes per year of allethrin, prallethrin, bioallethrin, esbiothrin and other pyrethroid are manufactured. These insecticides are used throughout the world. Allethrin can also act as dermal and respiratory allergen.  Direct skin contact with allethrin causes itching, burning and tingling feeling. When inhaled, it may cause nausea, vomitting, diarrhoea and asthma. It is especially dangerous for infants, young children and pregnant women.

Aaron Province
Journal of Bioremediation and Biodegradation
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