INDOOR AIR POLLUTANTS

  The major constituents of indoor air pollution in rural areas of the developing world are carbon monoxide, abbreviated CO, and particulate matter, abbreviated PM.    

    Carbon monoxide is a by-product of the combustion of any carbon containing fuel. Wood and other biomass fuels have significant amounts of carbon in them. Various concentrations of CO can cause dizziness, fatigue, impaired vision and coordination, nausea and confusion. At high concentrations CO can prevent oxygen from entering a person's blood stream possibly causing death. Carbon monoxide is made more dangerous because it is colorless and almost entirely odorless. However, simply removing a victim from the vicinity of the pollution will allow full recovery from the effects.

    
    Particulate matter is the name used to describe a range of small to microscopic solid particles and liquid droplets that are suspended in the air. These particles can be inhaled and can accumulate in the lungs. Depending on the sizes of particles that are inhaled, health effects vary from aggravating respiratory conditions such as asthma and increased lung and heart disease to decreased lung functioning and eventually death. Those with weaker immune systems are at great risk from PM pollution, especially children. What we call smoke is mostly made up of PM since the presence of colored particles reduces visibility.

    
    For the information above and more see the following US EPA Web sites:  

                                                                 CO:  http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html

                                                                 PM:   http://www.epa.gov/oar/aqtrnd97/brochure/pm10.html



(Back to Home Page)