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International Health Insurance News: UAE homes 'have indoor air pollutants'

International health insurance could be essential for expatriates relocating abroad to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as research has revealed inhabitants of the nation are exposed to indoor air quality hazards.

The investigation, which was performed by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, revealed these health risks could lead to respiratory illnesses.

Assistant professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and lead study author Karin Yeatts noted residents of the Emirates spend between 80 and 95 per cent of their time inside to avoid the high outdoor temperatures.

However, 30 per cent of all households monitored for one week had sulphur dioxide in measurable quantities, while 29 per cent had quantifiable amounts of formaldehyde.

Furthermore, 12 per cent of the domestic buildings involved in the study contained concentrations of hydrogen sulphide, while nitrogen dioxide was recorded in nine per cent of these structures.

Homes with substantial pollutant levels were more than twice as likely as other dwellings to contain family members who had been diagnosed by a doctor as suffering from asthma.

Furthermore, they were also discovered to have higher levels of wheezing, while formaldehyde was linked to the prevalence of neurological difficulties.

"This is an important area of investigation and the UAE is completely under-researched," Ms Yeatts said.

It is hoped the investigation will boost knowledge of public health hazards in the nation, while bolstering campaigns to limit the risks of indoor air pollutants.

The indoor air pollutants were related to incense, with 86 per cent of homes in the country burning this substance at least once every seven days.

"People can reduce their exposure [to harmful substances] by opening windows, burning incense for a shorter time or burning smaller amounts," Ms Yeatts remarked.

Expatriates moving to the UAE are checked for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, HIV and Aids, with individuals whose tests results come back positive being deported.

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends taking a blood test before travelling to the country for this reason.

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