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10 Reasons Why Indoor Air Pollution Can Harm Your Health

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

1. The air inside our homes is anywhere from 2 to 5 times more polluted that outdoors.  (The exception being in large cities).  Considering we spend over 90% of our time indoors, this is a major health threat. This is also an argument for why folks need to go outside.  Sitting out for a bit seems to be something strange.

2.  Newer construction especially during the time of the energy crisis and on has created air tight homes.  Older houses “breathe” because they are certainly not airtight. The air leaking in helps to bring cleaner air from the outside. Opening windows and using fans promote the flow of clean air.  Opening windows in the bathroom lets moisture escape.  In more consistently humid area, air conditioning is necessary to cool off and lower humidity.

3.  Radon gas escaping through the basement is a major health threat.  Keeping up with the modern house is rather challenging as kids are busy today.  Yet a radon test and remediation is necessary.

4.  Consider the delicate development of children’s and infant’s lungs.  It is very difficult to handle second hand smoke let alone indoor air pollution.  Second hand smoke can lead to and exacerbate conditions like asthma in children.  Mold is also known as a cause and trigger to allergic responses in children.  

5.  How many chemicals are in your house?  There are more than you realized.  Here are some sources:  household cleaners, carpeting, furniture, cabinetry, beauty products, new construction, paints, sealants, hobby supplies, and… You get the picture?  Other sources of indoor air pollution include:  combustion pollutants which is anything that burns in your house and leaves off gas.  For instance a gas stove, coal stove, propane heater.  Gases are releases in proportion to proper maintenance and installation of devices used.  Throw in smoking which contains 4,000 chemicals, there can be many pollutants from these types of sources.  Having carbon monoxide detectors ensure that invisible gases emitted from combustible pollutants is monitored to be safe.  Opening the windows even in the winter invites the fresh air in.

6.  Chemical off-gassing can occur at variable times.  For example, when carpeting is installed a great deal of chemicals is released into the air following installation.  It is recommended to open windows and use fans to vent out.  Notice the overwhelming odors of new construction?  Another time when many chemicals are immediately released into the air.  Asthmatics have a very difficult time with these chemicals.  Chemical off gassing occurs when humidity rises.  Practically everything you own emits gases into the air.  This includes the formaldehyde in your cabinetrythe 69 identified carcinogens chemicals in carpeting, and all the cleaning products, construction materials stored in your home.  You get the picture.

7.  Most Americans are unaware of the threat of indoor air pollution on health. If it is something you do not know about, why would you take action? Most do nothing to clean the air and take precautionary steps to limit indoor air pollution.  Public awareness of this issue needs to occur.

8.  Biological contaminants (germs, viruses, bacteria, fungi (mold)) are present in water damaged homes.  The NIOSH estimates that 50% of all homes have water damage.  Since mold loves water, expect it to be there along with the other contaminants. Moldy buildings/homes are a rather common occurrence.

9.  The rate of folks that have developed asthma has skyrocketed.  From 1980 on there has been a 75% increase.  That is a scary figure worth researching causes.  Professional are concerned.  What role does indoor air pollution play in this increase?  Consider the fact that we own more and more and more.  How much of what we own, do we actually need?  Household cleaners come with no warnings as to possible side effects. Maybe just a general warning. Maybe it is time to consider safer alternative such as green products or make you own.

10.  According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is linked to: asthma, breathing problems and more.  Below is a brief summary of their findings.

a. Asthma:  linked to mold, dirt mites, second hand cigarette smoke.

b. Radon:  2nd leading cause of lung cancer.

c. Mold:  leads to allergic reactions, asthma, exacerbation of other respiratory conditions, and I will add a biotoxic reaction to mold.

d. VOCs:  (Volatile Organic Compounds) They sound nasty because they greatly affect your health.  Cause:  eye, nose, throat irritation, headaches, nausea, and can cause:  liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.

e. Combustion Pollutants:  CO:  (carbon monoxide) a clear, odorless gas.   Cause:  headaches, dizziness, nausea, even death.

NO2 (nitrous dioxide) irritates eyes, throat, nose; increased risk of respiratory infection.

 

 

 

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