Air '10 times dirtier in home than street'

Air pollution in the home can be up to 10 times worse than on the street, according to Health Which?

Air pollution in the home can be up to 10 times worse than on the street, according to Health Which?

Shutting the door on the outside world provides no escape from toxic gases and chemical vapours that may aggravate respiratory problems and make people more susceptible to infections.

The worst culprits are gas cookers and heaters, which emit carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke and vapours from spray cans, paints and glues. A survey by the Building Research Establishment showed one in 10 homes had carbon monoxide levels above World Health Organisation guidelines. The magazine points out that we spend 80-90 per cent of our time indoors but there is little research into the effects of breathing low levels of indoor gases over a long period.

Dr Paul Harrison, acting director of the Institute of Environment and Health atLeicester University, said there were wide variations in pollution levels between homes and in individual susceptibility to pollutants. People with respiratory and heart conditions were especially vulnerable so it was "prudent to take action to reduce levels", he said. The institute found that people living in homes with a garage attached had up to 80 per cent more benzene - a cancercausing gas - in their homes.

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