Hidden air pollution in our homes and how to limit exposure to it

We see and experience particulate matter
or aerosol particles all around us. Aerosol particles make up the smog we
see in our morning commutes. The trails of smoke that rise out of our campfires,
in the sea spray that fills the air after a wave crashes against the rock.
There at the center of each and every cloud droplet and in puffs of smoke from
cigarettes, but did you know that we also encounter aerosols indoors? We might not
typically associate aerosols with indoor spaces, but many research studies have
detected a variety of particles in the indoor environment. So where do indoor
aerosols come from? Maybe the most obvious source is when outdoor air cells
travel indoors. Air enters their homes and other buildings through doors
windows ventilation systems and leaks and cracks in the building envelope. The
closer a building is two major outdoor aerosol sources, like busy roads with
lots of traffic, the more particles end up inside. Some aerosol particles have
indoor sources as well a few examples of indoor activities that can generate
particles are burning incense lighting candles or any other form of combustion
really. As well as using office products like printers and 3D printers. But one of
the most important indoor aerosol sources is your kitchen. Roasting a
chicken, preparing a stir-fry and other cooking activities generate a large
amount of particles indoors. Especially when using a gas stove or oven.
With so many services inside like the floors walls furniture and carpet
particles are lost more quickly indoors than they would be outdoors because they
stick to surfaces or settle due to gravity. But the particles we see inside
especially those generated from human activities are cooking have the
opportunity to influence our indoor quality and they can potentially react
further, changing the chemistry of the indoor environment. Researchers are still
working to understand their role in indoor chemistry and human health. To
limit your exposure to aerosols ventilate your kitchen while cooking,
look at websites like air now dot gov to learn more about outdoor air quality
before opening windows. And reconsider your habits when it comes to burning
candles and other activities that can affect your indoor quality.

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