How Indoor Pollution is Causing an Asthma Epidemic
26th July 2017
indoor pollutionThere are 5.4 million people living with asthma in Britain and one common piece of advice given to all is try to avoid or limit contact with the outdoor triggers for an asthma attack, with little regards to any possible indoor pollution. Outdoor triggers include air pollutants such as vehicle emissions, grass and plant pollens, cold air and moulds. With so many asthma triggers outside the house, one may assume that staying indoors for as much as possible would provide more safety. However, indoor pollution is quickly becoming a serious threat to health, claiming thousands of lives each year. The UK and US have been given a stark warning by health experts about the increasingly deadly problem of indoor pollution, who say we have been underestimating the impact of a problem that is causing an asthma and lung disease crisis at both sides of the Atlantic. Research has delved into the catastrophic effect of poor air in the home, namely that emanating from gas cookers, cleaning products, central heating and mould, to name a few. The findings have been released within a study carried out by Puressentiel, a company that sells healthcare products derived from essential oils. Professor Tim Sharpe, a researcher at the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit and not affiliated with Puressentiel, said the findings point to a large and neglected field of research. “Modern homes are increasingly airtight and can also contain a great number of pollutants and chemicals, many of which can have serious health effects.”

Indoor Pollution Culprits

The increasing poor and damaging air has been linked to factors such as pets, cleaning products, gas cookers, central heating systems, open fires and the flame retardants. Condensation is a major issue in homes, with studies finding that nearly half (46%) of homes having damp and mold inside. Moisture also results in the rapid growth of house-dust mites in addition to irritant mold and fungal spores. This can induce an asthma attack or problems breathing for those with COPD. An environment of moisture, warmth and poor ventilation can then encourage bacteria and viruses to thrive.

What The Experts say About Indoor Pollution

In 2016, the British Royal College of Physicians previously warned: “We must strengthen our understanding of the relationship between indoor air pollution and health, including the key risk factors and effects of poor air quality in our homes, schools and workplaces.” Meanwhile, Professor Louis-Jean Couderc, a respiratory specialist at the Foch Hospital in Paris, added: “Infectious agents play a key role in asthma, in combination with environmental factors and allergies. These three mechanisms exacerbate one another.' “Getting rid of airborne allergens and improving indoor air quality are therefore the first stages in treating respiratory allergies.” French journal, General Medicine, echoed the thoughts of others, saying: "Respiratory viruses are aggravating factors for asthma and play a role in triggering exacerbations. Getting rid of airborne allergens and improving indoor air quality are therefore the first stages in treating respiratory allergies."