There could be a killer lurking in your home. And, possibly, you’re blissfully unaware of it. Whether it’s the radiation emitted from your television set, smoke billowing from your stove or chullah or the clouds of dust blown by building construction material.
These could cause cancer, permanent damage to lungs — so what if you’re not a smoker — and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A team of doctors from Sir Hurkisondas Hospital, Girgaum, led by allergist Dr Pramod Niphadkar, conducted the study, which was published in the Journal of Association of Physicians of India in June.
“Shockingly, use of chullahs in the city was found to be widespread despite availability of cheap gas stoves,” said Dr Niphadkar, especially in areas like Bhendi Bazaar, Mazagaon and Dharavi. The worst kind of indoor air pollution is from chullahs followed by dust from construction material and radiation from television sets, especially when watched from close distances for too long a time.
The study was carried out on 754 subjects, including 489 asthma patients, who were asked to respond to a detailed questionnaire about indoor air pollution awareness and factors responsible for it.
The study revealed that Mumbaiites were at a risk of developing cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, permanent damage to lungs besides other ailments due to over-exposure to indoor air pollution. Just one in 100 Mumbaiites has any knowledge of such pollution.
Experts say this is a cause for worry as India accounts for 80 per cent of premature deaths due to indoor air pollution in South-East Asia, according to the World Health Organisation. In Mumbai, residents spend about 90 per cent of their time in an enclosed environment with restricted air circulation.
“The study has pointed out that citizens are exposing themselves to all kinds of indoor air pollution with no awareness of risks,” said Dr Niphadkar.
“It suggests that rather than spending money on research for new treatments, a little should go to create awareness,” Dr Niphadkar added.
Premature deaths due to indoor air pollution are totally unavoidable, he said.