Pratley & Partners

Indoor Air Pollution

Friday, 26 July 2019

Most people think of their homes as a safe zone. Somewhere where they can relax in comfort, let their kids play, have the grandparents around, and fear the worst danger is stepping on a piece of Lego left on the floor.

That is not true. Indoor air pollution is a significant, though hidden cause of ill-health, injury and sometimes death. Professor Stephen Holgate of the Medical Research Council, and an expert on indoor air pollution and childrens’ health, estimates that indoor air pollution has a significant impact on health and contributes up to 9,000 deaths per year of the estimated total 40,000 deaths from air pollution overall each year in the UK. Therefore, indoor air quality is of paramount importance both at home and in the workplace.

How Indoor Air Pollution Harms Health

We spend about 90% of our time indoors, and are exposed to all sorts of pollutants, including those from gas stoves, wood burners, personal care products such as nail varnish and deodorant, burning candles, home cleaning products, as well as chemicals and fire retardants in soft furnishings.

These pollutants often exceed safe levels. Pollution monitoring inside some ordinary homes found toxic substances such as formaldehyde were up to eight times above safe limits, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were up to 10 times the healthy limit, with CO2 over three times the required level.

Offices and commercial premises have equipment like printers and photocopiers that emit pollutants; carpets, pest control do so too, and staff may be vulnerable to health risks from industrial processes. Buildings beside major roads are often receiving vehicle exhaust fumes as well, which are a known hazard to health.

Dwellings are not entirely safe. Overnight monitoring in a bedroom showed that the air quality was “borderline”, which is not unsafe but still a cause for concern. Everyone loves a good fry-up, but even with a window open and extractor fan running, the burnt by-products and fumes can linger in the air for several hours afterwards.

Consumer Survey Shows Many People are Unaware of the Dangers of Air Pollution

Research conducted by Opinium Research found:

  • Only 36% of adults are aware of the effects of indoor air pollution on their health compared to 85% of UK adults who are familiar with the dangers of outdoor air pollution.
  • Three in five people (60%) were unaware that they could reduce indoor air pollution.
  • Nearly half (48%) of UK adults burn candles to improve the ambience of their home, while a similar number use air fresheners (53%).
  • One in six (16%) of those surveyed identified smelly food as a key source of indoor air pollution.
  • The respondents were asked about the effects of personal care products on air pollution in the home. Whilst a significant 80% of those questioned identified the indoor effects that hairspray has on pollution, two thirds (68%) had no idea that fake tan products are also harmful.

Chris Large, Senior Partner Global Action Plan, organisers of Clean Air Day (June 20th) says, “Indoor air pollution is an invisible danger inside UK homes but it can be easily fixed. Clean Air Day this year is putting a spotlight on the simple measures that we can all take to clean up the air inside our homes. Actions such as burning smokeless fuels or dry, well-seasoned wood on your barbecue or stove, opening windows, use fragrance free or naturally scented products, switching to mild cleaning products and avoiding aerosols, can dramatically cut air pollution levels inside UK homes.”

Speak to Pratley & Partners, who can help ensure your home and workplace are up to standard. As specialists in natural ventilation and smoke ventilation systems as well as window controls, they have the required knowledge and skills to provide the right solutions for your needs. Call today on 01277633933 or email


Ultraflex Control Systems
Kingspan STG - Light & Air
Window Master Natural Ventilation
Clearline Window Controls