The Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health are issuing a warning that air pollution in your homes may be putting you at risk.
The warning follows from a joint study conducted by the groups, which found that everyday house products like air fresheners and scented candles are causing this pollution.
Daily Mail reports that insulating properties and installing fixed windows to keep out drafts are only aiding in trapping the potentially toxic air inside your home.
Every Breath We Take, the report released this week, claims that at least 40,000 deaths in the UK can be linked to air pollution in and out of the home stating, “indoor air pollution may have caused or contributed to 99,000 deaths annual in Europe.”
It is suggested that everyday products such as faulty boilers, open fires, fly sprays, air fresheners, deodorants and DIY cleaning products are contributing to the poor air quality in door.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), are chemicals that are usually used within household sprays, starting off as solid or liquid and evaporating into the air we breathe.
Limonene, a type of VOC, is used heavily in air fresheners and scented candles to give off a citrus aroma. These are dangerous to inhale on their own and come become a carcinogen that burns the eyes, irritates skin and incites coughing fits, nausea and even nose and throat cancers when mixed with other airborne elements.
In addition to these products, certain furniture, fabric, glue, insulation and biological materials like, house-dust mites, mould and animal dander can harm your health.
The report warns that younger children and elderly are the most sensitive to air pollution, but it can have a huge impact on all age groups.
It states impacts such as, “increases in heart attacks and strokes for those in later life; and the associated links to asthma, diabetes, dementia, obesity and cancer for the wider population” can be caused by air pollution.
Professor Stephen Holgate, the chairman of the report’s working party, spoke to Daily Mail stating, “we now know that air pollution has a substantial impact on many chronic long term conditions, increasing strokes and heart attacks in susceptible individuals. We know that air pollution adversely effects the development of the foetus, including lung development.”
“And now there is compelling evidence that air pollution is associated with new onset asthma in children and adults. When our patients are exposed to such a clear and avoidable cause of death, illness and disability, it our duty to speak out,” he said.
Here are some things you can do to improve the quality of air in your home:
- Do not smoke indoors
- Make sure your gas stove is well ventilated
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce moisture
- Dust and vacuum regularly
- Use natural cleaning products that are free from harsh chemicals
- Try to avoid using scented candles
- Ensure your home is well ventilated (open the windows and allow the air to circulate)
- Add some plants to your decor to remove toxins in the home naturally.