Indoor Air Pollution

How to Fight Indoor Air Pollution and Get Healthy Air

We all need a breath of fresh air from time to time, especially if the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is right. According to them, indoor air can be even more polluted than outdoor air. This is even worse since Americans spend 90% of their time inside.

Indoor pollution can cause serious health effects, but it’s also something that can be fixed. So how do you get healthy air?

Why Indoor Air Pollution Matters

Indoor Air Pollution can cause all kinds of negative symptoms, some immediate, others long term. The EPA lists several potential examples: “irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.” Sometimes all you have to do is get the person away from the pollutant.

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Other illnesses emerge over a long time, including serious and sometimes fatal diseases such as cancer or respiratory illness.

Different people have different levels of sensitivity to various indoor pollutants, and while one source of pollution may not be that bad, many homes have multiple. Speak to your doctor if you get sick.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

According to the EPA and MedlinePlus.gov, there are many potential causes including:

  • Mold/pollen
  • Smoke from tobacco
  • Building materials like:
    • Asbestos
    • Formaldehyde
    • Recently installed floors, carpet, or upholstery
    • Some pressed wood furniture or cabinets
    • Lead
  • Combustion appliances that burn fuel
  • Supplies for household cleaning and maintenance, hobbies, or personal care
  • Central heating/air conditioning systems as well as humidifiers
  • Excessive moisture
  • Outdoor sources including outdoor air pollution, carbon monoxide, radon, and pesticides

Older, poorly maintained appliances can often emit more pollutants. A lack of ventilation and outdoor air can also contribute.

How Do I Know If I Have Air Quality Problems?

If you develop a sudden illness after moving into or remodeling a house or using pesticides on your residence, that can be a sign of air pollution. Talk to your doctor about these.

The CPSC also suggests that you could “identify potential sources of indoor air pollution. Although the presence of such sources does not necessarily mean that you have an indoor air quality problem, being aware of the type and number of potential sources is an important step toward assessing the air quality in your home.”

Also, you can “look for signs of problems with the ventilation in your home. Signs that can indicate your home may not have enough ventilation include moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air cooling equipment, and areas where books, shoes, or other items become moldy.”

The government also recommends you measure the radon in your home. Since radon can’t be seen or smelled, the only way to tell if it’s there is through a test. Learn about radon testing.

How to Have Healthy Air

Harvard Health Publishing gave several tips for creating healthy air:

  1. Have Good Hygiene: Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to clean your carpets and rugs a minimum of one or two times per week. 
  2. Stay Clean: Clean items that could hold allergens—drapes, beds, etc. Buy dust-mite resistant bedding materials, and take showers with water of 130° F.
  3. Declutter: A cluttered home gets dusty.
  4. No Plants: You may think having plants in your home will keep the air fresh because plants make oxygen, but actually, plants can get moldy and trigger allergies. Having plants inside may lower air quality.
  5. Replace Filters: Buy new filters regularly, and consider getting your vents cleaned.
  6. Buy an Air Purifier or Dehumidifier
  7. Open Windows: Even when it’s cold outside, you need occasional fresh air. You can also “move potential air contaminants out by using fans in the kitchen to remove cooking fumes.”

If you want healthy air, contact our staff. We’ll discuss potential solutions. Don’t live with allergens and indoor pollution.

 

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