Indoor exposure to air pollutants in road dust increases the risk of occupants’ health problems

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, December 2019, Volume 2, #90

Untarred roads are prevalent in many rural roads across the world. Untarred roads are also common in cities in many developing countries. The movement of vehicles on these roads generates a high amount of dust in the air. Unfortunately, the dust is a sink of organic compounds, metallic chemicals, and several chemicals in the air.

The resuspension of contaminated dust into the air means these air pollutants will be generated back to the air. People on the dusty street and occupants of vehicles will be exposed to the air pollutants. Occupants of buildings in the vicinity will not be spared due to outdoor to indoor transport of the air pollutants.

Evidence in the literature suggests examples of the air pollutants commonly found in dusty roads are lead, platinum, rhodium, bohrium, aluminum, zinc, vanadium, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Another dimension to the problem is the potential high exposure of building occupants in most developing countries to the pollutants in the dusty air. The regular lack of electricity, which necessitates the opening of windows and doors, facilitates outdoor to indoor transport of dusty air containing the air pollutants.

These pollutants are known to increase the risk of several health problems occurring. The health problems may include respiratory tract inflammation, inhibition of neurobehavioural and cognitive development in children, hypertension, chronic renal failure, Alzheimer disease, cardiovascular-related diseases, and cancer.

The occurrence of sick building symptoms such as cough, headache, sneezing, sensory irritations, etc., are also reported in the literature. If the health conditions are not well managed, they could lead to death. In addition to the construction of proper and non-dusty roads, what can be done to reduce human exposure to the highlighted polluted in the indoor environment?

90. Dusty Air_90

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Fang et al. (2004), Kahn and Strand (2018), and Liu et al. (2007) papers.

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