Masks have been used since ages for both ceremonial and practical purposes. I have always had a fascination for different types of masks. Whenever I go to some new place, along with the other knickknacks and souvenirs, I generally bring home a mask, which finds a place on the wall of my living room. However, lately more than the decorative masks, I have been buying face masks for protection against the rising pollution levels.
I got an anti-pollution mask when I went to Delhi last year in November. After Diwali, the air pollution levels in Delhi had reached a phenomenal high. The schools there had declared a three-day holiday during what was being called as the Great smog event, and people were advised to stay indoors. The premise was that inside our house, we were safe from pollution.
It was not until recently that I realized how wrong that perception was. My sense of safety from pollution inside the house was severely challenged after I heard that indoor air can be 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.
‘Indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air!’
‘Impossible! Nah! Not in my house!’ was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard this.
I shrugged and tossed aside the thought. Though not exactly a cleanliness freak, I usually pride myself on the neat and tidy appearance of my home. Sweeping, mopping and dusting are daily activities; the ceiling fan blades that notoriously gather dust are cleaned every week and the cobwebs are removed as soon as those start forming around the corners of the walls. The floor is mopped and the toilet is cleaned with disinfectant, bed sheets and pillow covers are changed and washed regularly, and no one smokes inside my house.
How can the air inside my house be polluted?
Somehow, the nagging question persisted in my mind. I decided to dig further into the topic and found out a report on Indoor Air pollution and Health (see Reference), which revealed some startling facts that I am sharing below:
The sources of indoor air pollution range from tobacco smoke to pets, to insects, to mould and fungus, with all of these making their own contributions to the air pollution inside our home.
A major indoor air pollutant is formaldehyde, or CH2O, a toxic organic compound that exists as a gas at room temperature. If present in high concentration, formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, rashes, fatigue and other serious health problems. So, how does this compound get inside our house?
Through the construction materials and furniture. Cupboards, kitchen cabinets and furniture made of particle board, hardwood plywood panelling, and MDF (medium-density fibreboard) contain resins that emit formaldehyde. Additional sources of formaldehyde include hair care products, especially hair straighteners, paper towels, upholstery and new mattresses.
Formaldehyde is also known as a Human Carcinogen – California Envioronmental Protection Agency
‘Who could have thought that plywood cupboards and kitchen cabinets could be the sources of such a deadly pollutant?’
Surprised and alarmed with these revelations, I was also reminded of the foul smells that often tend to stick around inside the home like the unwanted guests who refuse to leave. These offensive odours from cigarettes, rotten eggs, ammonia, garlic etc act as air irritants and degrade the air quality within the home.
‘Since most of us spend a substantial amount of time indoors, how much of the polluted air we must be inhaling right inside our homes!’ I wondered.
Needless to say that breathing in polluted air can lead to serious health issues. Some of these could be immediate, while others may show up years later. This is why there are regulations in some countries on the use of composite wood products that emit formaldehyde. Sadly, these regulations are missing in India.
So, how do we fight the danger of Indoor Air Pollution, even if symptoms are not apparently noticeable?
Here’s the good news!
Asian Paints took up the challenge to help us breathe better at home. After thorough research, tests and experiments, they have come up with an all-new revolutionary paint, Royale Atmos that can act as the first line of defence against indoor air pollution.
How does Royale Atmos reduce indoor air pollution?
By breaking down the formaldehyde molecules harmless molecules, Royale Atmos reduces the levels of formaldehyde. When a molecule of the pollutant hits a normal paint, it bounces back and readily continues to pollute the air. Whereas, Royale Atmos on the walls, breaks down the pollutant molecule into smaller harmless molecules. The decrease in the levels of formaldehyde within the home makes the air purer. Laboratory tests indicate that within 24 hours of application, Royale Atmos can reduce 85% of the formaldehyde.
Equipped with Activated Carbon Technology, Royale Atmos absorbs household odours from nicotine, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, sweat, garlic etc. and makes the air fresher and purer.
The other precautions that you can take to further bring down indoor air pollution are as follows:
- Do not smoke inside the house
- Leave your windows open for natural ventilation whenever possible
- Use pesticides carefully as per the instructions on the bottles
- Use exhaust fans in kitchen and bathroom and repair leaky taps to prevent dampness and keep humidity in control
- Avoid scented candles and air fresheners
- Add indoor plants for natural air purification
- Dispose of all paint cans and chemical cleaners
- Avoid the use asbestos for insulation
A home with clean air is everyone’s dream home.
So let’s get set to fight the dangers of indoor air pollution and join hands with Royal Atmos to breathe clean air in our beautiful home.
Breathe healthy, live healthy!