Where Does Indoor Air Pollution Come From | 8 Major Sources in 2021

where does indoor air pollution come from

Air exists everywhere around us; without air, there is no concept of life. The latest statistic shows that up to 68% of people suffering from the disease are related to indoor air pollution because they spend 18 – 20 hours a day in indoor areas. According to WHO indoor air pollution causes diseases including stroke, (COPD) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

So, focus on what indoor air quality means to us for our daily life and health issues. Before we discuss where does indoor air pollution comes from? How can indoor air pollution be prevented or solutions for indoor air pollution? Some other important factor’s needed to understand

Indoor Air Pollution Definition

“Any physical, chemical, or biological contamination in the air is referred to as air pollution. When it occurs in indoor areas, it is called indoor air pollution.”Or “Clean air composed of 10 different gases with a specific concentration level, when any gas concentration level decreases or increases the air, becomes polluted.”

Composition of Clean Air

Clean air is the composition of 10 gases according to their concentration level from high to low they are Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon, Carbon dioxide, Neon, Helium, Methane, Krypton, Hydrogen, and Xenon. Nitrogen consists of 78%, Oxygen 21%, and the remaining 1% is the mixture of other remaining gases.

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Composition of Polluted-Air

Polluted air have not a specific composition; it has thousands of types according to condition. It may be a mixture of various pollutants, such as PM, solid or liquid particles, Ozone, Nitrogen oxide, Volatile organic compounds, and many other gases. Indoor air pollution may be different from outdoor air pollution, according to their sources.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution in Home

Different kind of sources emits gases or particles in the air that is the basic cause of air pollution. But their concentration level may be different due to some other factors like insufficient ventilation or high humidity levels that can increase the concentration level of pollutants. Some pollutants directly entered from outside like dust and pollen, while pollutants originate inside the indoor areas. Let’s see, where does indoor air pollution come from?

sources of indoor air pollution

1 – Kitchen activities

Most pollutants originate in the kitchen during cooking, frying, food storage, and dishwashing activities. Secondhand smoke, Co2, No, VOCs, ozone, odors, and insects are the byproducts of kitchen activities. Wet surfaces or water leakage points near water fitting or drain pipes provide an ideal location for insect breeding.

2 – Inadequate ventilation

Airtight buildings or small spaces where fresh air entered literally inside air become stale and condensed, where pollutants concentration level becomes high and can cause serious health issues. In stale air, PM is suspended more, and air-borne bacteria breed rapidly.

3 – Smoke

Smoke from wood-burning, hydrocarbons, scented candles, cigarettes, and cigar adds a great contribution to contaminate indoor air. Substances in the smoke cannot disperse easily, even they absorb in the beddings, carpets, and other household items. That’s why the unpleasant smell of cigarettes is long-lasting.

4 – Building material or furnishing materials

When indoor air pollution comes from, building materials like bricks, cement, sand, marble, and ceramic tiles are the main indoor air pollution sources. These building materials produce radioactive pollution that is called Radon, which is a colorless and odorless gas. Nowadays, green building materials available in the market, but they are not completely safe.

As well furnishing materials like textile carpets, dyes, paints and glues, board, plywood, and adhesives are the main sources of formaldehyde and benzene. These harmful gasses entered the human body through the respiratory system and became a cause of serious diseases.

“According to the WHO (World Health Organization), research after smoke Radon is the second main cause of lung cancer.”

5 – Air fresheners, Household cleaning, and personal care products

We frequently used these products in our daily life. These products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), up to 600 kinds of volatile organic compounds found in indoor air; VOCs contaminate our indoor air on a large scale. VOCs contain carcinogens and pathogenic viruses, and when these compounds combined with Nitrogen oxide in sunlight produce unhealthy ozone gas that is very dangerous.

6 – Outdoor sources

During dust storms or even when the wind is blowing, different PM, dust particles, and pollen entered into indoor areas and dumped. These outdoor sources produce air-borne bacteria, dust mites, mold spores, and different viruses.

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7 – Pets

Pet’s dander, hair, and odors are another source of indoor air pollution and can cause serious allergic reactions. Dander is the dead skin cells that normally refer to pets.

8 – Electrical appliances

Electrical appliances are also contributing to indoor air pollution when they emit Ozone and EMF. Initially, new household appliances are good, but with time, their efficiency decreases, and the high EMF level.


Indoor air quality and our health are interrelated with each other. As we tried to remove the physical elements of pollution like dust, garbage, and smoke, we also tried to determine where indoor air pollution comes from and eliminate the sources. Breath in clean air is the basic right of everyone. That’s why the United States Environmental Protection Agency defines the environmental justice policy (EJ) as:

“The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income concerning the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulation, and policies.”