Doctor warns household items can raise risk of lung disease and strokes

When it comes to air pollution, most people blame cars and emissions – but did you know household items are also culprits of contamination?

From carpet cleaner to deodorant, your everyday products can pollute the inside of your home and increase your risk of life-limiting illnesses, including strokes and lung disease.

Dr Amir Khan has taken to Twitter to warn followers about the dangers of indoor air pollutants that lurk on our doorstep. Speaking in a video, he said: “There are common household items that can pollute the inside of our homes.

“Poor indoor air quality has been linked to lung disease, heart disease and even strokes. So, let’s look at some examples.”

Wood-burning stoves were first on the list, alongside open fires, as they both produce particulate matter. According to GOV.UK, particulate matter refers to everything in the air that is not gas and therefore consists of a huge variety of chemical compounds and materials, some of which can be toxic.

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This can be dangerous as smaller particles may enter the bloodstream and be transported around the body, lodging in the heart, brain and other organs, causing serious health complications.

“These tiny particles when breathed in can damage our lungs and increase our risk of lung cancer in the long term,” Dr Amir highlighted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added that particles have been linked with eye, lung and throat irritation, trouble breathing and problems with babies at birth.

Other items that pose a health risk include scented candles and incense sticks as they release small particles of other pollutants when they are lit. Dr Amir said: “Incense sticks, in particular, give off over 100 times more fine particles than a scented candle.”

If you are looking to add the flickering light into your home, the expert recommends burning these “in well-aired large spaces”.

Finally, caution should also be executed with a number of cleaning products, as they contain chemicals that can affect our airways.

Dr Amir explained: “Cleaning products, like furniture polish, air freshener, carpet cleaner, oven cleaner, as well as aerosols, like deodorant and hairspray, contain something called volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which when breathed in can irritate our airways, cause nausea and damage our nerves and other organs."

Research carried out as part of The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) revealed that the levels of these common organic pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside. What’s more, the findings were the same in both rural or highly industrial areas.

“I know it’s impossible to avoid all of these things in our homes but by minimising their use, having lots of indoor plants, and opening windows, allowing for good ventilation, you can improve your indoor air quality,” added Dr Amir.

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