Christmas is the merriest time of the year, it’s a season of cheer and mirth – but it’s not just happiness and cheer that’s in the air. As great as Christmas is, it’s also gained a reputation for being the most polluted day of the year – particularly when staying indoors. What you may not realize, is that many of the typical Christmas activities tend to release a cloud of pollutants into the atmosphere.
So what are these activities that you should take note of during the holiday season? Let’s talk about each one, and see how it affects your home’s air quality.
Activities that are Polluting your Air
That Christmas Dinner
What’s Christmas without a nice big hearty dinner? Whether you’re carving up a turkey, cooking a beef brisket or stirring up a large pot of stew or sauce, the cooking tends to release a large number of particles into the air.
Electric stoves in have been studied and shown to release a good amount of PM10 or PM2.5 particulates, and traditional gas stoves are no better, releasing carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide into the air. The type of food also has bearing; stirring the food produces more aerosol matter as tiny specks are thrown out into the air. The cooking temperature and preparation style all matter as well.
Whether burning some logs at the fireplace or otherwise burning wood for aesthetic reasons, the wood smoke released contributes a lot of emissions into your home.
Wood smoke emits a lot of PM2.5 into the air, extremely fine particles which linger for hours, which can enter deep into your lungs and eventually into your bloodstream. In London, the wood smoke contributes to around 7% to 9% of air pollution during Christmas.
Having scented candles looks great, especially on Christmas Eve. The soft glow is calming and gives a warm feeling to any home. But that beauty can be deadly. Unfortunately, the soot produced from the flame releases PM2.5 into the air.
Worse, the paraffin wax may release other particles from the color pigments used, as well as various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which contribute to bad air.
Nothing quite screams festive in a small package like a party popper. These popular one-use inventions are a staple at any party. When they pop, they release fine particles into the air.
The type that uses a small amount of explosives to produce the distinctive pop have several harmful compounds like red phosphorus, potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate. These can cause harm to human respiratory systems. The type that uses compressed air is less problematic. They’ve become so notorious that the Indian ministry of environment actually banned their use in India.
You Deserve Cleaner Air this Christmas
Christmas is a time to have fun with friends and family, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to ignore the air quality of our homes. Keeping in mind the possible complications of these activities, it’s possible to plan around them or mitigate the effects with proper ventilation and other good practices. Being able to monitor your home’s air quality with a sensor can help as well in making sure everything is safe to breathe for you and your family this Christmas.
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