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Paints, Perfumes, and Pollution: Examining the Unseen Dangers

Indoor air pollution, one part of the air pollution problem, is a rising concern worldwide. A few causes of indoor pollution are common, while others are hidden, causing severe health issues. Before knowing ways to reduce air pollution, you must know what causes can be in your house, affecting your family’s health.

Don’t trust us? Here’s a story of the Arora family you must read. 

Arora’s lived in Indore, the cleanest city in India. The family had four members, a mother, a father, and two kids. It was the last year around Diwali when Mrs. Arora told Mr. Arora to renovate the house. As Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India, she wanted her house to get a new look.

On deciding what changes they wanted in their house, they agreed on a few additions and repainting the entire house. For this, they chose paint according to their house's aesthetics, but they forgot to check if the paint was actually good for their health.

Sounds intriguing, right?

You often choose paints based on the colours that go well with your house, but do you pay attention if those paints are good for the environment? You don’t. 

Similarly, Mr. and Mrs. Arora bought paints from a local store and started their renovation work. The work was finished within a month, and the family celebrated Diwali in their newly renovated home. 

A few months later, as they spent more time indoors, the family began experiencing respiratory issues, headaches, allergies, eyes, nose and throat infections, etc. Their daughter, who was an old asthma patient, suffered the most and experienced frequent asthma attacks and difficulty breathing.

Mr. and Mrs. Arora knew something was wrong, which happened after they renovated their house. One day, they told their friend about this scenario, who asked them to check the paint boxes they bought before the renovation.

Mr. Arora checked the boxes and told his friend that the levels of VOC in these paints were higher than normal. On this, their friend told them that they made a mistake. They should have bought environmentally friendly paints with zero or no VOCs.

“But what’s VOC?” Mr. Arora asked his friend.

“VOC or volatile organic compounds are organic molecules present in many household products that easily vaporize at room temperature. They are also present in house paints and cause indoor air pollution.”

“Oh, damn. What can we do now?” Mr. Arora asked.

“Just get it repainted, and you will see positive changes.” his friend said.

After knowing the problem, Mr. Arora contacted a professional painter to help them. The painter suggested using low-VOC or VOC-free paint alternatives for future projects. Mr. Arora promptly stripped the old problematic paint and replaced it with a healthier option.

After a few weeks, the family saw improvements in their symptoms, except for their elder daughter’s. Their daughter had developed a newfound interest in collecting perfumes. She loved experimenting with different perfume brands and would often spray them around the house. 

Due to this, their elder daughter experienced symptoms like coughing and sneezing while being confused about what was causing it. Mrs. Arora asked her daughter to avoid perfumes and room fresheners for a few days. Surprisingly, she got better.

The parents researched and found out that perfumes and other fragrance products contain harmful chemicals, including VOCs, phthalates, and formaldehyde, which can contribute to indoor air pollution.

Mrs. Arora decided to educate her daughter about fragrance ingredients and choose natural, non-toxic alternatives. 

Together, the family took additional steps to improve their indoor air quality:

1. They opened windows regularly to allow fresh air circulation.

2. They invested in air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove any lingering pollutants. 

3. They also encouraged regular cleaning and dusting to minimize the buildup of particles.

Over time, their efforts paid off. The family felt better, the younger daughter’s asthma attacks decreased, and she regained her enthusiasm. On the other hand, the elder daughter bought organic perfumes with no chemicals in them.

This story is an important example of being mindful of the products you bring into your home. Something that you casually bring home can affect your health at severe levels. 

You can also educate your friends, relatives, and neighbors to choose environment-friendly products for their homes. Let us remind ourselves that our choices can greatly impact our health and the environment, no matter how small or big. 

Share this story with everyone: a graphic designer friend, someone you know who loves perfumes, etc., and let’s educate and change their buying decisions.

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