You think homes are safe and have little to do with air pollution. Well, think again. Sometimes, indoor air pollution can be more than the outside and can be breeding grounds for diseases and ailments. According to an international report published by the journal Science of the Total Environment, indoor air pollution inside homes can be more harmful than the outside.

“From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores, the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside,” says study co-author Prashant Kumar of the University of Surrey.

“Many of us tend to think that it is more polluted and therefore hazardous outside. We continuously blame factories, vehicles, and construction activities for the pollution, be it air pollution or water pollution. However, this is not always true,” says environmentalist Muqbil Ahmar. Let’s see five factors that can lead to air pollution inside our homes.

1) Dust: One of the common factors for indoor air pollution is dirt. Carpets, curtains, and mattresses absorb a lot of allergens, dust and bacteria. They also tend to attract it easily and that dust is difficult to get off—even vacuum cleaners can’t clean them completely.

2) Gas stove emissions: These appliances emit a number of harmful gasses such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These dangerous gases have the ability to trigger respiratory ailments and diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

3) Pets: These cute creatures are very close to some people. However, they can unintentionally bring in a lot of allergens like hair and minute particles. The problem can increase if these are not properly cared for. Therefore, it is best to confine them to a particular section of the house and clean them on a regular basis.

4) Cleaning agents: These we use to keep our house clean but little do we know that they emit toxic gaseous substances and particulates.

5) Coal for cooking: According to a report by the World Health Organization, coal for cooking killed 4.3 million people in 2012 in comparison to outdoor deaths due to air pollution that amounted to 3.7 million deaths.

Air and water pollution inside homes often escapes our attention. Indoor air pollution can result in frequent headaches, asthma attacks, allergy symptoms or other respiratory tract infections. We can lead a peaceful and healthy life only if the inside of our homes is free of harmful pollutants and the air quality is high. Air inside homes should be fresh and healthy. The best way is to keep a tab on air quality of the interiors. You can install sensors that can provide regular readings about the level of air pollution. Additionally, there are many air purifiers available in the market that claim to keep the air clean.

About the author: I am a freelance journalist, environment activist, fashion blogger, and a short film and documentary maker. My association with Taru Mitra, an organization working hard for the environment in India, taught me the value of nature preservation. I want to make the world a better place for future generations. Being a mother, I know how important it is to do that. I love nature, art and creativity. Reach me at