Take a deep breath – it’s something that most of us do or suggest others to do; it can be after a good exercise session, or some stressful or tough activity – A deep breath is always bliss.
Unfortunately, today most of the air we breathe is terribly polluted. The horror stories about India’s pervasive pollution that costs the lives of many people annually isn’t new. What’s even more horrifying is the fact that there are just no signs of improvement.
Why Indoor Air Quality Is So Important?
When we discuss pollution, we often link it to something that is found outside, in the air, the ground, or in the water bodies. But it’s time we look inside. According to The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS), we spend 90% of our time indoors, hence the value of a fresh air exchange system cannot be underestimated. All in all, breathing quality indoor air is indispensable for good health.
Most of us spend a significant amount of time indoors; it can either be our home, office, school or any other types of building structures—where chemicals, gases, and other deadly types of pollutants can cause several short-term or long-term health concerns.
According to EPA, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality inside and around building structures. Indoor air directly linked to the health and comfort of the building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns – Know The Common Indoor Air Toxins.
Breakdown Of Top 5 Diseases Caused By Air Pollution In Indoor Settings
Also, did you know “People living and working in buildings of manmade materials inhale over 300 contaminants every day,” says the Environmental Protection Agency? In addition to this, WHO reports, 7 million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution.
What does this mean? Exposure to bad quality indoor air results in life-threatening diseases of course! Building on this, let’s know the top 5 diseases caused by air pollution.
In simple terms, Strokes are brain attacks. They mainly occur when blood supply to the brain gets blocked. During a stroke, the human brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen or nutrients, this causes the brain cells to die. According to a study published in the Lancet Neurology, air pollution is allied with about a third of the global stroke burden. The researchers say, this includes environmental and indoor air pollution.
2. Heart disease
In May 2016, The Lancet published an influential article by lead investigator Dr. Joel Kaufman, this study reports that long-term contact to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides at levels close to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) can result in premature aging of the blood vessels and contribute to a quicker buildup of calcium in the coronary artery. This buildup of calcium restricts blood flow to the heart and other major blood vessels which increase the likelihood of cardiovascular events like a heart attack.
3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the 3rd leading cause of mortality worldwide. Both indoor and outdoor air pollution have strong links to this disease. A person who repeatedly breathes in bad quality air is at higher risk of getting COPD. Polluted air contains tiny particles called “irritants” which damage the lungs and can cause COPD or make it progress even faster.
4. Respiratory Diseases
Today, there are enough shreds of evidence that prove air pollution aggravate respiratory diseases, especially asthma. Chronic respiratory infections and diseases like asthma can be caused by rising levels of air pollution. In fact, air pollution is the main trigger for breathing ailments in children in several Indian metro cities today.
5. Lung Cancer
Previously, lung cancer was associated with people who smoke excessively, but new evidence suggests that air pollution can also be a cancer-causing. Especially, people who spend a lot of hours living or working in congested spaces with very little or no ventilation are susceptible to air pollution-related ailments.
Green Walls Can Help
So how does this all connect to green walls, you may ask? With respect to human health, it has been studied that harmful chemical substances in the indoor air, such as dust and mould spores, high levels of carbon dioxide, can lead to long term health hitches. Research of materials and their impacts on indoor air quality has shown that Clay bricks and blocks are one of the few man-made building materials whose mineral properties meet ‘all necessary requirements for healthy living’.
Since we spent close to 90% of our time indoors. Due to increasingly tight building envelopes, which stop air from entering the interior through leaking windows and are thus enhancing the energy efficiency of a building but also affecting the indoor climate, the importance of selecting the right building material becomes imperative. Natural building materials like Clay, ideally incorporates sustainable design practices to integrate the building into its immediate environment. Choosing building materials right for your climate is also important.
Wearing masks while going out, staying in properly ventilated spaces, travelling in closed transportation, and keeping in mind “Green and Sustainable” when buying or building a house are few of the things you can do to counter indoor air pollution. It’s time to watch what you’re breathing.
Breathe Healthy Stay Healthy!