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NRSC 221 (8)

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Natural Resource Sciences
NRSC 221
Maggie Kilgour

INDOOR AIR POLLUTION  Recently science realized that indoor air pollution can contain 2-5 times higher concentrations of hazardous pollutants than outdoor air. Why? One reason is because modern buildings are built very air tight to conserve energy but resulted in very little ventilation and contaminated air stays in the buildings and accumulates. As well, most people spend about 90% of our time indoors (e.g. children, elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic illness).  Sources of pollutants: o building materials and furnishing (e.g. wall, paints) o asbestos insulation (not in use as much) o wet or damp carpet (e.g. chemicals on new carpets) o furniture made of certain pressed wood products (e.g. almost all wood is treated and pressed with glue which can evaporate) o cleaning products and air fresheners (e.g. Lysol) o personal care and hobbies (e.g. hairspray) o Other sources can be from cooking and insecticides. o Heating (e.g. any type of combustion in developing countries) o Radon o Smoking o Outdoor air pollution (all contaminants found outside can be found inside)  What is the problem then? o Most people won’t know that we are exposed to pollutants because they are indetectable through our senses. o The symptoms we get if exposed and harmed are not specific and may be mistaken for flu or a cold. o Regular concentrations and exposure is required before symptoms develop o Symptoms of aversive effects to regular exposure: tiredness, dizziness, nausea, irritation of the nose (e.g. itchy) o Symptoms of aversive effects to high concentration exposure over many years: cancer, asthma Asbestos  Greyish-white material  It is a fibrous material (group of six different minerals – natural minerals) which is separable, long, strong and flexible heating resistant fibers.  Used in: o Building materials o Paper products o Automobile industry o Special packaging and coatings  Can’t be dissolved in water, cannot evaporate into the air, or even break down into elements (it remains solid throughout) therefore, cannot reduce its toxic effects  If it deposited on the soil surface, it remains on the soil surface and cannot move through the soil profile.  How might you be exposed to asbestos? o We are all exposed to asbestos but at very low levels and so we aren’t harmed much o However those working in some industries are exposed more than others and those who live near such industries are effected through emission o Asbestos used for insulation is spread during demolition of old buildings or remodelling o From drinking water (natural contamination) o Contaminated cement pipes leading to contaminated drinking water.  Human Health Affect:
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