Sources of indoor air pollution

pollution intérieur

Air pollution is a complex mixture that is constantly evolving, consisting of chemical, biological and physical elements. These components can be toxic to humans and, knowing that every day we inhale up to 20,000 liters of air, if they contain pollutants it can have effects on human health.

The pollutants found in the atmosphere can be produced by human activity, it will then be called pollution of anthropic origin, or it can be linked to natural activity, for example the products of volcanic activity, soil erosion, sand winds, or also the natural pollution that can be produced by the oceans.

In the case of human activity, all sectors of activity can produce air pollutants: industrial activities, road transport, but also air and rail transport. Domestic activities and in particular heating (fuel, wood, etc.) will produce pollutants and of course all agricultural activities.

The pollutants observed in the atmosphere are not all emitted directly by these sources. They also result from physico-chemical reactions between chemical components (primary pollutants and other atmospheric constituents) governed by meteorological conditions.

In order to have a good understanding of the pollution phenomena to be able to elaborate forecasts, a thorough knowledge of the pollutants, of their sources, of the quantities emitted by each source of pollutants over long periods (the year) and of the geographical distribution of the emissions is necessary. All these variables vary very significantly at different times of the year, and even at different times of the day.

There are now many numerical air quality models, which integrate "spatialized" inventories of pollutant emission data. These inventories list the quantities of pollutants emitted by the various sectors of activity.

Indoor air pollution

Indoor air pollution is composed of a large number of pollutants which are caused by the intersection of our activities with the components of our environment.

Outdoor air, including local pollution, pesticides, pollens and various dusts. Household equipment, furnishings, appliances. Construction and decoration materials, glues, varnishes, paints and insulation. And, human activities such as DIY, cleaning and cooking with the way the premises are occupied, pets and plants.

Fine particles

Fine particles PM2.5 with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm have an impact on mortality and cardiorespiratory morbidity. Various chronic pathologies (cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory pathologies) develop after several years of exposure to particles, even at low concentration levels. Other effects are increasingly highlighted: possible effects on reproduction, risk of premature birth, neurodevelopment disorders in children, dementia in the elderly, etc. At present, particles are the air pollutants for which the health effects are the most documented.

The effects of pollution on health.

If it is an exposure of a few hours to a few days (acute, so-called short-term exposure) to this pollution : eye or respiratory tract irritations, asthma attacks, exacerbation of cardiovascular and respiratory disorders that can lead to hospitalization, and in the most serious cases to death;

If it is an exposure of several years (chronic, so-called long-term exposure) to air pollution; the health effects can in this case be defined as the contribution of this exposure to the development or aggravation of chronic diseases such as: cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory pathologies (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure), neurological disorders, etc.

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