Indoor Air Quality Index

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    From business energy suppliers to our neighbours, many of us are making efforts to reduce the number of harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere to protect both the planet and ourselves. Unfortunately, there is still work to be done, as household air pollution was responsible for over 4% of deaths in 2019.

    We have put together an Indoor Air Quality Index to reveal which countries are being impacted the most by indoor air pollution. We will also provide you with some expert tips on how to improve your household air quality.

    Air Quality Index

    With nine deaths per 100,000 people, household air pollution is affecting Mexico more than any other country

    To kick off our Indoor Air Quality Index, we have put together a list of the OECD countries suffering from the highest household air pollution death rates - this has been calculated per 100,000 people.

    Countries with the highest indoor air pollution death rate per 100,000 people

    1. Mexico – 9.00 deaths per 100,000 people
    Mexico has nine deaths related to indoor air pollution per 100,000 people, which is higher than any other OECD country. It has been revealed that millions of households in Mexico use firewood for cooking which is heated using coals. As well as being harmful to the environment, the nitrogen oxide produced by burning coal can contribute to respiratory problems which is a lose-lose situation for these households.

    2. Hungary – 6.81 deaths per 100,000 people
    With 6.81 deaths per 100,000 people, Hungary appears next on our list. This country has had issues in the past when it comes to indoor air quality in schools as a result of poor ventilation. While the government has taken steps to improve this situation, it appears that there is still work to be done as Hungary has the second-highest deaths related to indoor air pollution per 100,000 people.

    3. Poland – 3.90 deaths per 100,000 people
    Some of the factors which have contributed to Poland’s poor indoor air quality include the gases emitted from cooking fuels and the chemicals released from cleaning products. Even though many countries are guilty of these practices, Poland has felt the effects more than most – evidenced by the 3.9 deaths per 100,000 people.

    Indoor air pollution is among the leading risk factors of premature deaths worldwide - totalling over 2 million deaths in 2019

    Risk factors of premature death worldwide

    Indoor air pollution (from solid fuels) – 2.3 million deaths

    Indoor air pollution falls just below alcohol use in terms of the most significant death-related risk factors. Over a third of the world’s population still use wood-powered stoves for cooking, and this contributes massively to the emission of harmful gases. As a result of poor indoor air quality around the world, we saw 2.3 million deaths in 2019 – the eighth most common risk factor on our list.

    Common causes of indoor air pollution

    Indoor air pollution can come in many different forms – some are common knowledge but others are much more surprising. As mentioned earlier in our Indoor Air Quality Index, using charcoal for cooking is detrimental to the environment and our health. Having said that, indoor air quality can be impacted by any type of cooking if the temperature is high enough to cause smoke.

    The appearance of mould or mildew in your home may inspire you to redecorate, but that isn’t the only thing you need to be wary of when it comes to your interior. From painting a room with fresh household paint to installing new carpets, several things could be causing chemicals to impact the quality of your air.

    Common causes of indoor air pollution

    Expert tips to help you improve your indoor air quality

    From all of the information revealed so far in our Indoor Air Quality Index, it is evident that poor indoor air quality is leading to fatalities all over the world. While it is difficult to eliminate the issue, there are things you can do to improve the air quality in your home – we have put together some expert tips to help you.

    Improve Your Ventilation

    Sometimes the emission of fumes is inevitable, but opening your windows and doors where possible will help to disperse the gases and reduce their harmful effects – this is particularly important when painting or using cleaning products. It is also essential to maintain clean air filters which may have gathered dust during periods of no use.

    Watch Out For Mould

    Aside from making your house look dirty, mould produces allergens and sometimes even toxic substances which can be detrimental to your health. If you see mould surfacing on tiles and metal then you can easily remove it with a wipe, but you may need to consider replacing any carpet or wood that has been plagued with mould.

    Switch Up Your Sources

    This may sound obvious, but by eliminating the sources that are contributing to indoor air pollution, you can reduce the amount of harmful emissions in your household. We can find you the best business electricity rates which will enable you to comfortably switch from gas stoves to more environmentally friendly alternatives. Electric and induction stoves, which do not require open flames or gas to operate, will help to eliminate any cooking-related emissions in your home.

    Utilise Indoor Plants

    Research suggests that indoor plants can help to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide in homes, which is a common but harmful pollutant. Among the plants that can help to improve your air quality are Peace Lilys and Areca Palms, which absorb mould spores and filter out harsh chemicals respectively.

    Expert tips to help you improve your indoor air quality

    Methodology

    We used Our World in Data to find the indoor air pollution death rate per 100,000 people for all OECD countries as of 2019. This source was also used to compare the leading risk factors of death to that of indoor air pollution.

    We used Imagin Fires to make a list of the most common causes of indoor air pollution.

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