Pollution from household products including air fresheners, cleaning products and even scented candles is putting lives at risk, experts have warned.
The everyday items carry harmful particles that can contribute to breathing problems, stress on the heart and cancer, according to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
The report suggests air pollution is contributing to as many as 40,000 deaths in the UK every year – and indoor air pollution alone may have caused or contributed to 99,000 deaths in just one year across Europe.
“Being indoors can offer some protection against outdoor air pollution, but it can also expose us to other air pollution sources,” the report said.
“The lemon and pine scents that we use to make our homes smell fresh can react chemically to generate air pollutants, and ozone-based air fresheners can also cause indoor air pollution.”
Other items that are exposing people to potentially harmful pollutants include joss sticks, cookers, boilers, open fires and portable gas or paraffin heaters.
Experts are warning the effects of air pollution begin as early as development in the womb.
Pollution can damage the development of the foetus, including its lung and kidney development.
For Sara Beirne, who is eight months pregnant with her first child, it is another health issue to worry about.
She told Sky News: “You do your best. You want to keep your house clean, get rid of all the germs to keep your baby healthy. To find out you might be doing more harm than good is another thing to add to the list of worries.”
Air pollution is nothing new. The scenes of smog seen in Beijing and Dehli today were common in London or Manchester only decades ago.
The warning from this report is that now, even though our air is cleaner or at least clearer, there are invisible dangers – both outside, and inside the home, which need to be addressed.