Indoor Air Pollution and the Health of Infants

Indoor Air Pollution

  • Indoor air pollution is one of the main environmental health risks worldwide.
  • People with low socio-economic status are more likely to be exposed to it.
  • Individuals who spend prolonged periods of time at home consume more polluted air.
  • Children spend more than 80% of their time at home (Ferguson et al., 2020).
  • It is a significant risk for the populations of developed countries.

Examples of Indoor Air Pollutants

  • The most widespread type of indoor air pollution is tobacco smoke.
  • Asbestos is a significant contributor to air pollution.
  • Particulate matter is another contributor to indoor air pollution.
  • Nitrogen dioxide is also often found in houses.
  • A high concentration of radon poses health risks (Ferguson et al., 2020).
  • Volatile organic compounds negatively impact air quality indoors.

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

  • Air pollution indoors can be caused by poor quality housing.
  • The lack of knowledge concerning the danger of tobacco smoke also contributes to air pollution.
  • The location of the building near a congested road is another cause.
  • Industrial plants with poor filters in close proximity to the house are an important factor (Ferguson et al., 2020).
  • A high occupant density indoors results in significant resuspension of particles.

Other Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

  • Low quality household products such as detergents
  • Fireplaces, wooden stoves, and other appliances which burn fuel
  • Perfumes and air fresheners
  • Mold and other biological pollutants
  • Paints, coatings, and building materials that contain asbestos.

The Susceptibility of Infants to Indoor Air Pollution

  • Infants’ skin is thin and more likely to absorb contaminants.
  • Children tend to touch potentially harmful objects.
  • They spend time sitting on the floor and interact with pollutants there.
  • Proportionately to their body, infants consume more air than adults.
  • Their bodies are still developing.

The Impact of Indoor Air Pollution on Infants

  • One of the primary effects of indoor air pollution on infants is asthma.
  • Infants may experience acute respiratory infections.
  • Children of women exposed to poor air quality during pregnancy can be underweight.
  • Neonatal death is also possible (Suryadhi et al., 2019).
  • An increased risk of cancer later in life can be a potential outcome.

Other Impacts of Indoor Air Pollution on Infants

  • Infants exposed to indoor air pollution can suffer from otitis media (Naz & Ghimire, 2020).
  • Another illness caused by indoor air pollution is pneumonia (Deng et al., 2017).
  • It can provoke impaired immune function.
  • Another common effect is wheezing (Vanker et al., 2017).
  • Disruption of pulmonary defenses is also possible.

Interventions to Minimize the Impact of Indoor Air Pollution

  • Individuals can reduce the level of indoor air pollution by switching to biofuel or electricity.
  • Biomass fuels such as coal and wood must not be utilized (Carlsten et al., 2020).
  • Cooking areas have to be ventilated.
  • Portable air cleaners are also effective.
  • The furniture inside the house has to be made of materials that are easy to clean.

The Health Promotion Plan

  • Caregivers must control the existing conditions of the infant to prevent aggravation of the symptoms due to indoor air pollution.
  • Infants must not be exposed to tobacco smoke.
  • Caregivers have to take infants outside to green areas.
  • The use of air purifiers in rooms with infants is recommended (Dong et al., 2019).
  • Natural cleaning products are to be used.

Accident Prevention

  • Caregivers must not use perfumes near infants.
  • Products with pesticides also have to be banned from the household.
  • Caregivers have to clean the house to ensure that the child will not consume or inhale pollutants.
  • The doors and windows of the house need to be occasionally opened to allow fresh air in.
  • Caregivers can install air quality control systems.

National Resource

  • The United States Environmental Agency is responsible for reducing environmental risks.
  • Its website contains information about indoor air quality.
  • Citizens can report problems related to the environment using the organization’s website.
  • The website.
  • Citizens can also call the agency.

Web-based Resource

  • The website of the Indoor Air Quality Association contains many resources on air quality control.
  • It offers webinars and training courses on the topic.
  • It has a blog devoted to indoor air quality.
  • The website.
  • Users can also become members of the organization.


Carlsten, C., Salvi, S., Wong, G. W. K., & Chung, K. F. (2020). Personal strategies to minimize effects of air pollution on respiratory health: Advice for providers, patients and the public. European Respiratory Journal, 55(6), 1–21. Web.

Deng, Q., Lu, C., Jiang, W., Zhao, J., Deng, L., & Xiang, Y. (2017). Association of outdoor air pollution and indoor renovation with early childhood ear infection in China. Chemosphere, 169, 288–296. Web.

Dong, W., Liu, S., Chu, M., Zhao, B., Yang, D., Chen, C., Miller, M. R., Loh, M., Xu, J., Chi, R., Yang, X., Guo, X., & Deng, F. (2019). Different cardiorespiratory effects of indoor air pollution intervention with ionization air purifier: Findings from a randomized, double-blind crossover study among school children in Beijing. Environmental Pollution, 254, 1–11. Web.

Ferguson, L., Taylor, J., Davies, M., Shrubsole, C., Symonds, P., & Dimitroulopoulou, S. (2020). Exposure to indoor air pollution across socio-economic groups in high-income countries: A scoping review of the literature and a modeling methodology. Environment International, 143, 1–18. Web.

Naz, L., & Ghimire, U. (2020). Assessing the prevalence trend of childhood pneumonia associated with indoor air pollution in Pakistan. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(35), 44540–44551. Web.

Suryadhi, M. A. H., Abudureyimu, K., Kashima, S., & Yorifuji, T. (2019). Effects of household air pollution from solid fuel use and environmental tobacco smoke on child health outcomes in Indonesia. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61(4), 335–339. Web.

Vanker, A., Barnett, W., Workman, L., Nduru, P. M., Sly, P. D., Gie, R. P., & Zar, H. J. (2017). Early-life exposure to indoor air pollution or tobacco smoke and lower respiratory tract illness and wheezing in African infants: A longitudinal birth cohort study. The Lancet Planetary Health, 1(8), 328–336. Web.

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