Panel warns of dangers of indoor air pollution

Air pollution is linked to some of the biggest present-day health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, but the problem of poor indoor air quality has not received the same level of attention as outdoor pollution, according to speakers at an October panel discussion.

The panel was assembled by natural home product brand Puressentiel with a view to drawing attention to the issue, which was mentioned in a report by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Recent research carried out by the company found that of 1,000 UK adults, 63 per cent hadn’t heard of indoor air pollution in the home and 82 per cent said it wasn’t something they worried about.

Herbalist Dr Chris Etheridge PhD said: “Many of us spend most of our time indoors and this makes good indoor air quality especially important.

“One of the worries is that indoor pollution is a cocktail of outdoor pollutants such as ozone and vehicle emissions, and indoor irritants such as volatile organic compounds, cleaning chemicals, moulds, fungal spores and bacteria, and we really don’t understand the long-term health implications of this sort of multiple exposure. However, the good news is that there are ways we can all improve the air quality in our own homes.”

Common factors in the home such as tobacco smoke, some cleaning products, air fresheners and scented candles can contain ingredients that exacerbate asthma symptoms and cause other symptoms such as headache and shortness of breath, the panel said.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has warned that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, it was heard.

Using essential oils in the home is a safer alternative to common air fresheners and can reduce indoor levels of some toxins and irritants that can be harmful to health, according to speakers at the roundtable.

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