Indoor Air Pollution Affects More Than The Lungs

Our lungs provide the body with oxygen and although our bodies have mechanisms to protect our lungs, they are under increasing pressure when we are present in polluted environments.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average home is five to twenty times more polluted than outside. Indoor air pollution is the number one environmental health issue in the U.S.

Indoor pollutants in our homes and offices that directly affect the lungs include airborne particles that cannot be seen except under a microscope, chemical gases in the air and allergens. They can have a direct impact on the lungs when respired. When pollutants are inhaled, they trigger molecules that cause reactions in the lungs that damage cells and cause inflammation in the lungs. This can lead to lung damage, lung disease and reduced lung function.

Our thinking has always been that indoor air pollution from our homes and offices affects primarily our lungs but many other areas in the body are affected including the heart. Indoor air pollution has both short and long term effects that harm the heart and blood vessels. Indoor air pollution increases rates of hospitalization for cardiac illness and can even cause death.

Indoor air pollution can have a significant impact on the heart and research shows us that breathing in ultra-fine particles can pass directly into the blood stream and damage the heart and blood vessels directly.

Hearts directly exposed to these particles have shown decreased blood flow and pumping action with an increase in arrhythmias. Additionally, exposure to indoor pollutants can cause affects on heart rate and blood pressure.

Although indoor air pollution can affect everyone; the elderly, young children and individuals with respiratory and heart problems are even more susceptible. It is important that children’s home and school environments are properly monitored for sources of indoor pollutants, work environments should be periodically monitored for the safety of their occupants and everyone should evaluate their home to ensure a safer healthier environment in which to live.

By Simon Hahessy | Posted in General