A report just released by the World Health Organization confirms that deaths from air pollution are on the rise:
A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together. (source)
If 3 million deaths a year are caused by environmental (outdoor air pollution) but 6.5 million deaths are caused by all air pollution (indoor and outdoor) then it stands to reason that 3.5 million deaths a year are caused by pollution within the home.
One would normally think of indoor pollution as smoke from ill-ventilated homes such as those in many parts of Africa, India and other developing regions. Indeed the WHO defines indoor pollution as follows:
Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using solid fuels (i.e. wood, charcoal, coal, dung, crop wastes) on open fires or traditional stoves. Such inefficient cooking and heating practices produce high levels of household (indoor) air pollution which includes a range of health-damaging pollutants such as fine particles and carbon monoxide.
In poorly ventilated dwellings, smoke in and around the home can exceed acceptable levels for fine particles 100-fold. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth.
Sadly that’s not the entire story. The World Heath Organization primarily looks at generic worldwide risks such as outdoor air pollution and how it affects the health of us all but in other areas, such as indoor air pollution in concentrates on the developing world rather than the global population. that’s because the WHO concentrate primarily on particulate matter, the microscopic bits in smoke and car exhaust fumes.
There are many scholarly articles that go way beyond ill-ventilated homes and cooking practices as causing health problems due to indoor pollution.
It has long been known that mold spores can cause ill-health and they are considered to be a hazard within the home. As more and more people find themselves unable to afford decent housing more people are starting to suffer from the effects of mood. Chronic chest infections, pneumonia, allergies, and asthma have all been linked to substandard housing and damp environments.
More and more physicians are also connecting the dots between our modern lifestyle and indoor pollutants such as air fresheners, votive candles, cleaning products and even beauty products. Anything that can put chemicals into the air can affect the levels of pollutants we breathe in. Some studies even link candles to an increase in cancers.
A survey of selected scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws. Even products advertised as “green,” “natural,” or “organic” emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones. (source)
The CDC has even listed household cleaning products on their list of indoor air pollutants. There has never been a better time to clear out the cupboards and start afresh with natural, preferably homemade products, that way you know exactly what your family is breathing in. What could be a better place to start than with your laundry, we put those clothes next to our skin even though they have been washed in a solution of chemicals. Are These Dirty Little Secrets Lurking in Your Toxic Laundry Products? is an article I wrote a short time ago telling you how to get away from the chemical-laced cocktail you currently wash your clothes in. Home Detox: How to Rid Your Environment of the Sources of Chronic Illness details the links between chemicals in your home and chronic illnesses.
Many of us have proven that chemicals in the home make us sick and we have elected to do something about it.
Don’t you think it’s maybe about time you joined us?
You can read the full WHO report into pollution here.