NICE warned that air-drying clothes inside the house can trigger asthma and urged people to keep the window open when having a bath or shower. Picture: Picryl

London - Homeowners should open the window whenever they cook and never dry clothes indoors, according to official guidance on air pollution.

And pregnant women and parents of young children should avoid lighting candles or using cleaning products.

British health watchdog NICE issued the recommendations in an attempt to cut indoor air pollution, an "invisible killer" that is linked to lung and heart disease.

They warned that air-drying clothes inside the house can trigger asthma and urged people to keep the window open when having a bath or shower.

But critics accused health officials of scaremongering. They said public health efforts to tackle air pollution should focus on major issues such as diesel emissions – not "trivial" advice about lighting candles.

Harmful fumes mainly come from fossil fuels or diesel cars, but can also be released inside homes by cleaning products, candles and wood-burning stoves.

Dr Alan Maryon-Davis, chairperson of NICE’s public health advisory committee, said: "We are all aware of the detrimental health effects of outdoor air pollution. But how many of us think about the air quality inside our homes?

"Many people spend most of their time at home indoors, and the pollutants we create through cooking and cleaning, or those arising from mould or building materials, can all too easily cause or exacerbate respiratory conditions and other health problems." 

NICE - which overseas public health - urged people to open windows whenever they cook, clean, light a candle or use paints.

If windows cannot be opened, extractor fans should be used to prevent the build-up of pollutants.

Products including air fresheners, perfumes, deodorants and paint emit chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, which irritate the eyes, nose and throat.

Daily Mail