June 18, 2021 12:02:28 pm
While outdoor pollution levels dropped during lockdown periods, particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels were 23 per cent higher indoors, according to research carried out by Dyson. The data is based on the study conducted in 10 global cities.
The study suggests that particle pollution was high indoors even after the lockdown had lifted and the reason is being attributed to new trends followed by people. Dyson says 2020 saw a significant uplift in pet ownership, and pet dander, pollen and other organic material may be significant sources of both PM2.5 and PM10. So, the company believes these trends are likely to be increasing indoor pollution and allergen levels.
Dyson further explains that actions like frying food in the kitchen increased PM2.5 levels by five times. The combustion process while cooking releases particulates into the air, which the company says contributed to this increase.
The usage of common household items like deodorants, perfumes, aerosols and cleaning sprays also expose people to volatile organic compounds within homes. VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that are found in a lot of products we use to build and maintain our homes.
The company says the data was collected during the first phases of lockdown between March and May with the post-lockdown data collections taking place between June and September, when many countries had loosened COVID restrictions.
“Before the pandemic, indoor PM2.5 generated indoors by normal human functions would be spread between the home, the office and other indoor spaces. Instead, it all builds up in our homes. Lockdown is like a perfect storm – the growing indoor plants trend, uplift in pet ownership and increase in flower deliveries can all increase allergen levels in indoor air, when we’re spending more time at home than ever,” Alex Knox, Vice-President of Engineering for Environmental Care, said.