Air quality during Christmas season is rapidly changing with climate change and its celebrative lifestyle. With cooking, house cleaning, and a winter festival atmosphere, everyone spends the majority of their Christmas season indoors.
We are all aware that the likelihood of indoor air quality deterioration is greater than outside. Therefore, you should be most concerned about the air quality during Christmas throughout this winter season.
How can this poor indoor air quality emerge during the most wonderful time of the year, and what can we do to avoid its negative effects? Read and enjoy.
Cooking and Cleaning in Christmas Season
Christmas plays a key part in cleaning and cooking throughout the holiday season, which is the busiest time of the year for these activities.
The majority of these cleaning and cooking procedures generate hazardous chemicals, gases, and particles.
1. Dishwashing Liquid
3. Oven Cleaners
4. Chlorine Bleach
5. Air Fresheners
If you are also planning to clean or cook during the Christmas season, brace yourself and be prepared to minimize the impact on your health.
Fireplaces and Stoves
Due to the chilly weather and the increased amount of cooking that occurs during the Christmas season, setting up a fire and running stoves are common wintertime activities.
However, according to the American Lung Association, this wood smoke creates particularly uninviting and filthy indoor air in a short amount of time and a small space. According to the figures, fireplaces and stoves account for more than 8% of Christmastime air pollution.
According to EPA research, smoke from wood-burning stoves can be extremely dangerous, as they emit over 200 substances, including heavy metals. They estimate that this effect is twelve times greater than that of secondhand cigarette smoke.
However, modern technology has surpassed this hurdle to boost its prudence. When wood-burning is directly tied to an increase in the existing area’s air pollution levels.
- Carbon oxides ( CO2/CO)
- Nitrogen’s oxides (NO2/NO)
- Particulate Matter (PM 2.5/ PM 10)
- Volatile Organic Compounds
In addition, they contribute to a variety of undesirable health issues, including,
- Asthma attacks
Short-term and long-term exposure to this may result in the following:
- Heart attacks
- Lung cancer
- Premature death
At the elementary and secondary levels, there are a number of measures we can take to combat this condition over the holiday season. We can discuss it further below.
According to the statistics of health ministries around the world, the highest levels of air pollution caused by fireworks are reported on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In addition, regular air pollution has increased by more than 25 percent throughout this time period for the same reason.
In the environment created by ignited fireworks, you are exposed to a higher degree of air pollution for a shorter length of time, resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and morbidity.
According to a study conducted in the Netherlands between 1995 and 2015, the degree of air pollution caused by fireworks in December increased significantly. Mostly in PM10 Particulate Matter Level.
They discovered this level at 29 g/m3 concentration near Christmas, with a significant increase to 277 g/m3 during New Year’s celebrations. In certain regions, this amount had reached 598 g/m3.
Usually, most fireworks contain 75% KNO3, 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulfur. During the ignition process, these compounds can generate numerous air pollutants in a short time.
This toxic dust primarily consists of particulate matter that is smaller than the width of a human hair and quickly enters our respiratory system, which is particularly hazardous to our health. Generally, this smoke produces;
- Abnormal lung function
- high blood pressure
- Reduced lung function
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart attacks
- Breathing problems
When fireworks are detonated in close proximity to a residential location, the unbreathable air can persist for a shorter period of time, allowing the community to enjoy the outdoors for longer periods.
But when it counts indoors, the effects may linger, creating a hazardous living environment.
According to the records of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in Germany, fireworks produced 5,000 tons of particulate matter (PM10 — particles measuring less than 10 microns in diameter) at the end of Christmas and new year’s eve, which is equivalent to 17 percent of the annual increase in total air pollution caused by vehicles in traffic.
Scented Candles in the Christmas
Christmas candles are charming decorations, and they create a “Christmas vibe” with a pleasant and tranquil atmosphere in our home. However, did you realize that scented candle smoke is actually hazardous to your respiratory system?
These candles are typically formulated with paraffin, synthetic perfumes, and colors. These are direct petroleum byproducts. With the light of these candles, one can anticipate negative outcomes. Like,
- Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs)
- Ultrafine Particles ( PM 2.5)
When these air contaminants are concentrated in a small space, such as a bedroom, they may cause fatal health problems during sleep.
Party Poppers at Christmas
Party poppers are popular during the majority of celebrations, including Christmas.
Typically, party poppers are a small pack of colorful, glittering plates that are activated by pulling a cord.
Even if you assume that these are specific and harmless items at the events, they have included human-harmful compounds in addition to sparkling pieces of plats. Typically, it contains;
- Potassium chlorate
- Potassium perchlorate
These explosives in the package can be used to create low-intensity blasts. These compounds are directly dangerous to people, so direct contact should be avoided.
Also, when combined with food, they can cause severe eye and face injuries.
This is why party poppers are prohibited by law in India. However, the usage of poppers with a compressed air mechanism is permitted.
What Can We Do to Manage Air Quality During Christmas?
Multiple precautions can be taken to ensure the cleanliness of indoor spaces over the holiday season. Here are some examples.
- Maintain a distance between outsiders when you are gathered together
- Try an air purifier for personal use and to clean indoor spaces.
- Try HEPA filters with a higher filtration capacity and replace them at regular intervals.
- Try indoor plants with enhanced air-purifying abilities.
- Maintain current status on Allergy disorders and other new drugs
- Try potpourri bowls instead of scented candles inside the home.
- Utilize a Power heating system rather than a wood-burning system.
- Utilize fireplaces with effective air purifiers
- Try other woods seasoned for a longer period prior to winter
- Upgrade the indoor ventilation system
- Shut down all the outlets when fireworks have ignited
- Reduce the use of fireworks near the residential area
- Utilize fewer VOC-containing agents for cleaning
- Utilize warm water for cleaning
- Reduce the number of barbecues and utilize air filters in areas.