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Indoor air pollution could be threatening your health

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, August 8, 2019  /  03:34 pm
Indoor air pollution could be threatening your health

It's common sense that smoking is not very good for your health, but did you know that it is the number one indoor pollutant?  (Shutterstock/Antonio Guillem)

Most Jakartans have been talking about how the city topped a list of the world’s worst air quality several times. And while this is truly something to be worried about, staying indoors is not automatically the best solution to avoid it. 

According to a study in 2010, 80 percent of sources of air pollution outdoors involved vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, burning trash and activities conducted at home. 

However, indoors, air pollution also exists and may lead to diseases if not circulated well.

Dr. Agus Dwi Susanto, head of pulmonology and respiration medicine department at the University of Indonesia (UI), told that there were some main sources of air pollution indoors that you may not realize exist:

Cigarette smoke

It's common sense that smoking is not very good for your health, but did you know that it is the number one indoor pollutant? 

Agus reveals that although cigarette smoke might not be visible, its small particulates stay in the room and can get stuck on objects within it. 

So, there is still a possibility for someone to get sick due to cigarette smoke particles, even if they were not present at the time the smoke was originally in the air. 

Domestic activities

Without us realizing, daily activities such as cooking can also be a source of indoor pollution. 

Cooking with oil or even using a gas-based stove can also cause the same negative effects as smoking cigarettes indoors. 

Read also: Are you using the right anti-pollution face mask?

Electric appliances

Most homes are equipped with electric appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, fans or air conditioners. However, these electric appliances also contribute to indoor pollution due to their emissions. 

Organic materials

It seems like the term “organic” has become synonymous with “healthy”, so how can this cause us any harm? 

It turns out that organic materials themselves are not dangerous, however. they may become dangerous as they degrade. 

As organic materials begin to rot, they start to pollute indoor air more and more. The more they degrade, the more bacteria and germs get released into the closed space. 


It might seem ridiculous at first glance to see furniture as one of the main causes of indoor pollution. But items such as curtains actually trap pollution and bacteria from outside air while the windows are opened. 

Other furniture such as chairs or couches may also trap pollution inside a room if unused. Bacteria and germs accumulate if the furniture in the room is not regularly used or cleaned in the form of dust. This dust is then spread into the air when moved or hit by a gust of wind from a fan or air conditioner. 


A ventilation system is used to replace the sitting air within a room with “fresh” air from outside. Even if you think you have a clean and spotless home, ventilation can be a source of pollution from the outside world. 

Knowing this, you can avoid getting your home polluted by turning off the ventilation when the state of the air is at its worst. You can monitor the air quality online in real-time. It is best to turn on ventilation during the late evening and early morning when street traffic is not as heavy. 

The effects of indoor pollution are the same as that of outdoor pollution. It can cause irritation, coughing, heavy breathing, sneezing or irritation of the throat. 

It is important to realize that the dangers of indoor pollution are very real and in order to stay healthy, it is necessary to take these forms of pollution seriously. This is the form of pollution that we are more directly in contact with, but the one that we can control the most. Hence, keeping our living and workspaces as clean as possible is key, since we do not know what type of pollution and bacteria has already settled in. (sal/kes)

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