You may have the cleanest looking and freshest smelling home on the block, but if you’re not paying attention to the quality of your indoor air, your family may still be exposed to air pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that indoor air quality can be adversely affected when pollution sources release gases or particles into the air in your home. So what can we do to tackle this invisible risk? Read on!
First things first: Arm yourself by knowing the key culprits that can affect your home’s indoor air quality. The American Lung Association reports that a variety of substances can have a negative effect on the air we breathe. Could any of these be lurking in your home?
Composed of living things (or produced by living things), common biological pollutants include mold, dust mites, pet dander, cockroach droppings or their body parts, rodents, insects, viruses and bacteria.
Created when tobacco is burned in cigarettes, cigars and pipes, secondhand smoke can worsen asthma symptoms and can increase the incidence of bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in children.
Gases or airborne particles created by burning materials such as wood, oil, gas, kerosene and coal, common combustible pollutants can come from gas stoves, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, water heaters and clothes dryers.
A radioactive gas that occurs naturally, radon can seep into your home through cracks in the foundation or walls that are in contact with the soil, with health consequences from long-term exposure.
A mineral fiber desirable for its strength and heat-resistant properties, asbestos is known to cause lung cancer and other serious lung conditions. Common sources of asbestos in the home are in roofing shingles, ceiling tiles and various heat-resistant fabrics, coatings and packaging.
A significant source of formaldehyde in the home comes from pressed-wood products made with urea-formaldehyde (UF) resin, such as particle board, hardwood plywood paneling and medium-density fiberboard used in furniture, cabinetry, sub-flooring, paneling and shelving. Numerous other harsh chemicals are used in everyday cleaning products, paints, hobby glues and solvents, pool and garden chemicals, personal care products and standard air fresheners
The truth is, we may come into contact with dozens of pollutants before we even have our first cup of coffee, but take heart—here are three strategies for reducing the pollutants in your home. Take these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a healthier environment for you and your family.