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    Significance of Indoor Air Quality

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    Indoor air quality is an important subject because breathing quality air is critical for good health. Most people spend a large amount of time indoors whether at home, work or other types of buildings. These buildings can produce gases, chemicals and other pollutants that can cause many health conditions, such as headaches, eye irritations, allergies and fatigue.

    Indoor air quality became an environmental factor in the 1960’s after the outdoor environmental issues became a major factor causing more than 2,000,000 deaths a year in developing regions (Sundell J. 2004). According to The World Health Organization there were 4.3 million deaths globally in 2012 because of household air pollution ( Hegde S, Min K, et al. 2019). 41% of households rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating our homes, in developing countries this is done without proper cooking spaces or proper ventilation. The populations that is most affected by indoor asthma triggers, secondhand smoke, mold, radon and other indoor pollutants include children, elderly, low-income, minority, tribes and indigenous people (EPA 2020).

    The World Health Organization has developed guidelines that are tailored to the needs of developing countries where they are likely to have indoor air pollution the greatest. One of the primary focuses has been to improving cookstoves and providing detailed information on how the cookstove performs and potential health risks (Amegah, A. 2016).

    One test I found to try and improve the amount of volatile organic compound in the air was by using potted helix (English Ivy) to remove or reduce formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is the most common volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted from household materials and is associated with many health risks, including sick building syndrome. The study proved that using potted plants was not significant enough to remove the formaldehyde (Lin, M. 2017). I found this interesting because I have heard that plants are a good way of purifying the household air.

    Solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power are known alternative ways of generating household energy and not using biomass to cook and heat our homes. Most countries globally have the potential of getting the renewable energy with technology. A couple examples that were found are that many areas in Africa experience solar radiation of between 14.4 and 21.6 MJ/m2 (MegaJoules per square metre). Geothermal resources are abundant in east Africa with great potential for wind power also present around the coastal regions and eastern highlands (Amegah, A. 2016). With proper ventilation homeowners can also make sure that the indoor air pollutants are exiting the homes and fresh outdoor air is let in to dilute the emissions.

    The Green Climate Fund was created to give developing countries a promising source of funds to develop the infrastructure required to exploit these renewable energy resources.

    While doing my research for this paper I realized what I need to look for when my allergies act up and what precautions I can take to make the air quality better in my home. We did make a purchase yesterday to a better vacuum cleaner to help clean up all the cat dander and dust. Now we are looking into remodeling our kitchen because we do not have a vent above our stove which would make a nice improvement when cooking.


    • 1. Zhao Y, Liu L, et al. 2019. Review of Effluents and the Health Affects of Cooking and the Performance of Kitchen Ventilation. Aerosol and Air Quality Research. 19(8): 1937-1959
    • 2. Amegaah A, Jaakkola J. 2016. Household Air Pollution and the Sustainable Development Goals. Bull World Health Organ. 94(3): 215-221
    • 3. Indoor Air Quality. (Internet). Washington (DC) United States Environmental Protection Agency: (cited February 12, 2020) Available from
    • 4. Hegde S, Min K, et al. 2019. Indoor Particle Matter Measurements Using a Network of Low-cost Sensors. Aerosol and Air Quality Research. 20(2): 381-394
    • 5. Sundell, J. 2004. On the history of Indoor Air Quality and Health. Indoor Air. 14(s7):51-58
    • 6. Lin M., Chen L., 2017. Investigation of a Potted Plant (Hedera helix) with Photo-Regulation to Remove Volatile Formaldehyde for Improving Indoor Air Quality. Aerosol and Air Quality Research. 17(10):2543-2554

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