Air pollution in Egypt

GOOD air quality isn’t just a subject for Asia and northern America – look at we found in Sunday’s edition of Egypt Independent, an English version of the country’s flagship paper: “Air pollution indoors and outdoors high, threaten health and environment”.

It’s a super interesting read – instead of just worrying about traffic, residents have to cope with yellow haze brought about by the sand storms in their deserts.

To read the whole report, click here.

For the benefit of our readers, I’ve copied the section on indoor air quality here:

“Until the 1970s, air quality inside homes and work environments was neither particularly studied nor a subject of concern. But the outbreak of diseases caused by exposure to asbestos — minerals with insulation capacities and a resistance to heat and chemicals that made them extremely useful in construction — led to increased awareness about indoor air quality.

Indoor air can be of extremely low quality and detrimental to human health, causing a wide range of illnesses, including pneumonia, respiratory problems, allergies and infections.

Heating or boiling food, keeping children in rooms with newly painted walls, and having floor coverings containing formaldehyde — an extremely toxic and volatile organic compound that is a known carcinogen — can pose many serious health issues, Abdel Shakour says.

“Also, using chlorine, ammonia and other chemicals to clean the floors and walls in the bathroom and spraying insecticide inside the home are also very dangerous,” she adds.

Allergies, asthma, itchy eyes, coughing and runny noses aside, the specific health effects of poor indoor air quality depend on what contaminants the air contains, and on how long and to what extent people are exposed.

Most people ignore the fact that household dust consists of a wide variety of organic and inorganic particles that collect in homes, and that most of the dust is shed skin cells, which explains why the dustier rooms in a house are the ones used most regularly. This dust can also be composed of fabric fibers from clothes, sand and soil particles, plant and insect particles, and many other components.

“Houses need to be properly ventilated, especially the children’s rooms,” Abdel Shakour says.”

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