What are the effects of pollutants

Air pollution - Dangerous consequences for health and the environment

Air accompanies us constantly and means above all vitality and health. In doing so, we often do not even notice that the air that surrounds us is heavily polluted with pollutants. The indoor air is often even up to 5 times more enriched with pollutants than the outside air (YouGov Institute in Great Britain 2018). Simple activities such as cooking, bathing or drying laundry are sufficient to pollute the room air. We'll show you the consequences of air pollution and how you can protect yourself from it.

The importance of air pollution

Air pollution is a ubiquitous issue, especially in large cities, as increased traffic is a particular cause of air pollution. The pollutants that are released into the air have devastating consequences for the environment and our health - and are mainly due to human activities.

Dry, pure air consists of 78% nitrogen, around 21% oxygen and approx. 1% argon as well as other trace gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. In addition, natural and man-made gases and particles are added, which cause the actual air pollution.

Air pollutants should normally not be in our atmosphere at all or only in small quantities. They can have harmful effects on human health as well as the environment and the climate.

Relevant air pollutants are: carbon monoxide, fine dust, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and ozone.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 7 million people die every year as a result of air pollution.

In large cities in particular, a number of sources of pollution lead to severe air pollution. However, human activities not only influence our outside air, but also our own indoor air.

The causes of air pollution

According to a study by the YouGov Institute in the UK (2018), we spend 90% of our time indoors. The concentration of pollutants is up to 5 times higher here, as they are more difficult to evaporate inside a building than outdoors. Since we breathe up to 17,000 times a day, these pollutants get into our organism, where they can cause long-term damage. Cardiovascular diseases are usually the result here. Did you know that the risk of asthma increases by 40% if you permanently live in rooms that are too humid?

We will show you why moisture and pollutants can often occur in far too high concentrations in our homes.

Air pollution in our home

In our own four walls, we probably expect the least polluted air.

In fact, however, the concentration of pollutants inside is up to 5 times higher than outside. Various factors play a role in this. For example, how much time is spent in the rooms, what sources of pollutants are in them and whether the house is in a polluted area. Some of the pollutant sources are known to very few, which is why a basic awareness should be created first.

If we do not ensure a regular exchange of air, the CO² content in the air increases quickly due to the residents. The more CO² there is in the room, the faster germs and pollutants spread on this nutrient base. The maximum level of CO² is below 1000 ppm (“parts per million”). Often, however, due to a lack of ventilation, we often get into a state in which we are with CO² concentrations above 3000 ppm.

Another problem is the evaporation of materials, substances and chemical compounds from objects. Do you know, for example, what materials your children's toys are made of (“Made in China”) and what colors and plastic particles are continuously released into the room air? Furniture in particular often permanently rubs off lacquers and surface colors on the environment. Textiles, be it clothing or carpets, also emit chemical substances that we breathe in everyday life. Often, however, harmful substances can also be found in everyday objects where they are not even suspected. These include cleaning agents and detergents, wall paints, building products, wallpaper, floor coverings and care products.

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Solvents, gases or chemical compounds contained in products, objects or materials escape and continuously enter the room air as pollutants and thus into the respiratory tract.

Pollutants can also get into our rooms from outside when we open the windows or bring them in from outside.

The natural moisture that is generated by the residents themselves (e.g. breathing) or their behavior (e.g. cooking or drying laundry) is often forgotten. Optimal humidity is between 55% and 60% - but this value is often significantly higher if we ventilate less often. Brief ventilation is often not enough, especially in damp rooms such as the bathroom. If we are already out of the house after the morning hygiene, these rooms become very moist from wet shower cubicles, towels or tiles and thus cause moisture damage and mold growth.

Sources of indoor air pollution

  • Heating with a fireplace or wood stove
  • Cooking without an extractor fan
  • Electrosmog from the use of electronic devices
  • Chemicals from paint fumes, paints, renovations
  • Burning processes of candles or incense sticks
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Furnishing
  • Insufficient ventilation
  • Carpets and open textiles

Did you know, that buildings are now being built much more densely than they were 50 years ago? The facade and the roof are nowadays heavily insulated with the aim of saving heat, which leads to savings in heating costs and lower CO² emissions. Multiple-glazed windows also made the building shell less permeable, with the aim of energy-conscious living. However, this also means that the air can no longer be exchanged naturally, which leads to a sharp rise in the concentration of pollutants and increased air pollution in our indoor spaces. Daily ventilation of the windows is unfortunately often no longer sufficient.

Air pollution in the city

Cities like Munich or Stuttgart are pioneers with high levels of air pollution. Pollutants caused by traffic, industry and agriculture are visibly polluting cities. For example, fine dust and nitrogen limits are exceeded every year. Despite the constant improvement in air quality in Germany, some cities are above the annual NO2 limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter. High loads usually occur in metropolitan areas and areas with a high volume of traffic.

Natural sources of elevator pollution meanwhile have only a smaller influence than “air polluters”. Volcanoes, pollen or lightning also release harmful substances into the atmosphere, but this proportion is rather small and can normally be compensated for by nature.

In comparison, man-made air pollution is many times more serious. The economy and new technologies pollute our air more than initially assumed.

Agriculture:

Predominantly pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia and methane

  • Use of fertilizers & pesticides
  • Livestock farming

Traffic:

Mainly nitrogen monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide

  • Formation of microplastics
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Tire and brake wear
  • Throwing up dirt

Industry:

Main producer of dust, sulfur oxides and CO2

  • In production processes
  • Use of solvents
  • Bulk cargo handling

Natural emissions:

 

  • Volcanic eruption
  • Forest fires
  • Pollen count

Luftbude tip: If you are more interested in the subject of air pollution in cities, we recommend our research in the fine dust guide.

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Health risk - when does air pollution become dangerous?

Fine dust, nitrogen oxides and ozone contribute significantly to air pollution. Long-term exposure is even classified as harmful to human health. Particulate matter and ozone pose a particular risk, which can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Areas such as metropolitan areas and industrial areas or along traffic arteries are characterized by high levels of pollution. However, these are particularly problematic for risk groups.

Effects of air pollution on our health

The health consequences vary depending on the pollutant, its concentration, the length of stay in the room and the sensitivity of the occupants. People with allergies or a weakened immune system (children, previously ill and elderly people) react much more sensitively than others and are considered a risk group - both for air pollution in the city and in their own home.

Danger: By inhaling nitrogen dioxide, ozone & fine particles, these get into our airways and lungs. So it can too Deposits in bronchi and alveoli come. The smaller the particles, the sooner they can get into the bloodstream via our lungs. Air pollution can therefore permanently damage our organs.

Important: Excessive air pollution can lead to bouts of Shortness of breath, chronic cough, chronic bronchitis and respiratory infections to lead. The longer you stay in polluted air, the greater the risk.

Even early stress on children can impair the development of lung function. Therefore, pay particular attention to the surroundings of your children so that they are not later affected by increased air pollution decreased lung function Suffer.

In general, health consequences can be viewed in the short and long term.

Short-term effects of air pollution

  • Eye irritation
  • fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • a headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • Feeling uncomfortable
  • Faster spread of germs

Long-term effects on the nervous system from polluted air

  • asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Genetic damage
  • cancer
  • Allergies
  • Impairment of fertility

Effects of air pollution - effects on the environment and climate

The emissions that humans cause and release into the atmosphere have a direct impact on us and the environment. Nature is fundamentally not designed to compensate for all these pollutants and takes lasting damage from them. The emissions of CO², methane and soot in particular leave long-term traces in nature. The air enriched with it has a strong effect on the greenhouse effect. This influences the extent to which the sun's rays are absorbed and reflected. If this proportion is too low, the temperature in our atmosphere rises and significantly causes climate change.

Did you know, that methane is around 25 times more harmful to the climate than CO²?

How can I protect myself from air pollution?

Air purity is a global issue. Solutions must be created and set for the whole world. These measures are of course directly linked to the environmental policy of the respective country. In the following, we will list measures that can reduce air pollution in cities and our homes.

Reduce air pollution in the home

In order to counteract indoor air pollution, it is advisable to make improvements in behavior and everyday consumption yourself. This applies both to trading at home and outside of your own four walls.

In principle, sustainable use is the best solution to minimize air pollution.

  • Use of public transport or a bicycle
  • Economical use of resources: electricity, hot water, heating
  • Use of modern and energy-saving technologies
  • Sustainable consumption: avoid packaging waste, make household resources yourself, buy regional products, recycling
  • Resource-saving heating and ventilation
  • Check the energy efficiency of your own household appliances
  • No diesel vehicles
  • Use environmentally friendly paints and varnishes
  • Installation of a ventilation system in order to obtain the necessary air exchange

So that your health is not endangered, it is important to identify sources of pollution at an early stage and then take action.

Practical tips for a pollution-free home

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  • Setting up Houseplants as a natural room air purifier
  • Correct ventilation
  • Electrosmog avoid: only switch on electrical devices when they are needed and avoid electrical devices, especially in the bedroom
  • Mop hard floors regularly to reduce dust particles
  • Do not use cleaning agents that are harmful to health
    Tip: Switch from harmful and caustic chemicals to ecological natural products / home remedies, e.g. lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda or baking powder
  • When buying furniture on Quality mark like the Blue Angel or the Golden M, as these labels exclude materials containing harmful substances

In the following we would like to provide you with a checklist for a correct ventilation process.

Checklist for correct ventilation

  • Regularly briefly ventilate, 3-4 times a day for 5-10 minutes each time
  • It is best to open interior doors
  • Turn off the radiator
  • Ensure cross ventilation: open opposite windows and the respective room doors at the same time
  • Quickly remove high humidity (e.g. after cooking or showering)
  • Avoid constantly tilting windows

Danger: The more insulated your property is, the more often you should ventilate. Our checklist was developed for an old building before 1970. Newer buildings prefer controlled living space ventilation. We would be happy to advise you free of charge about possible ventilation solutions for your property and develop a ventilation plan for you free of charge.

Reduce air pollution in cities

The following options are available in cities to reduce air pollution:

  • Improvements in public transport, construction of new bike paths
  • Set up environmental zones
  • Planting trees / creating green spaces
  • Speed ​​limits in congested areas
  • Stricter pollution controls for industry
  • Reduction of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum
  • Use of renewable energies

Your home without air pollution

The more tightly the buildings are insulated, the faster the air pollution and the concentration of pollutants inside rise. Counteracting this requires more and more effort on the part of the residents - even then, the room air is usually not in an optimal condition.

If you want to have permanent fresh air in your home, which is regularly exchanged and filtered, we recommend decentralized living space ventilation. Several individual devices regularly exchange the air in the room and save up to 94% heating energy in the process. Together with attractive funding programs, a ventilation system quickly pays for itself - even when it is retrofitted.

As an honest specialist dealer, we would like to assist you in this decision-making process. There are over 100 ventilation solutions in our portfolio. Together with you, we will find the right device for your situation and develop a free ventilation plan for this.

Did you know that most dealers and craftsmen only sell for one ventilation manufacturer? We do not want to advise you on a single manufacturer, but rather determine the right product solution together with you.

In a free consultation, we look forward to your request and would be happy to talk about a ventilation solution that suits you.

Your advantages with Luftbude

Neutral advice

Most dealers, agents and craftsmen only advise on a single manufacturer - regardless of your wishes and your property. We have all ventilation manufacturers in our portfolio and find a neutral specialist advice center the right ventilation for you.

Free planning

We offer you a free ventilation plan - on request even with an energetic assessment and position proposals. Send us your floor plan by email and we will work out it for you a free ventilation plan.

All-round service

With us you have a contact person for all concerns about your ventilation - before and after the order. We advise you neutrally and plan your ventilation solution free of charge.On the phone we support your craftsman with the installation and support you in the future with all questions.

Guarantee & exchange

We maintain long-term contacts with all manufacturers and can therefore offer our customers a special guarantee. So far we have been able to find a customer-friendly solution for all concerns - even after the warranty has expired.

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