And How To Improve Yours
When you think of air pollution you probably, like me, immediately think of smokestacks billowing giant plumes of smoke out into the atmosphere. While that is a fair example, we often forget that the biggest risk we face is our own indoor air quality.
Yes, air that is long trapped and stagnant coupled with poor ventilation can create a cloud of toxicity right in your living room.
The Tough Facts You Need to Know
1. A Serious Risk
Indoor air quality is one of the biggest environmental risks to your health. The pollution found indoors can be as much as five times greater than that found outdoors. In extreme cases, it’s 100 times greater. In addition to poor ventilation, air fresheners, household cleaners, and burning candles contribute to poor air quality.
Before 2006, some furniture contained a toxic substance that was used as a flame retardant. These contribute to toxins in the air and now flame retardants continue to be in use but this one is a carcinogen that was banned in the US in the 70s (from children’s pyjamas). It’s dangerous when inhaled as a variety of other flame retardants.
3. Bad Air Freshener
It may provide you with a pleasant smell but they are seriously bad for you. The majority of air fresheners contain a variety of chemicals that contribute to respiratory ailments, disrupt hormone function, and even affect reproductive development.
4. Candles Are Bad, Too
I’d love to say it isn’t so, but it is and I’m sorry. There’s good news, though, you can still buy candles just make sure you choose beeswax or soy varieties that are unscented (or have been scented using pure essential oils). You see, the majority of candles contain toluene and benzene which are known carcinogens. Not to mention they also contain alkenes, you know, the chemicals that are found in your car’s exhaust. So, when you burn candles you are releasing these toxins into your air, thus breathing them in. icals that are found in your car’ which are known carcinogens. rieties that are unscented (or have be
5. Inkjet Printers
This might be one of the most surprising additions to the list, but the ink in your (even home) printer contains glymes. These are industrial chemicals that have been linked with reproductive damage and development issues. It’s risky if you have exposed to these over the long-term, so you may find it cheaper to print photos at home… but you might want to just spring for having them done at the store.
6. Schools Are the Worst
Schools hold a lot of students so it makes sense that they have terrible air quality. The problem is that children breathe in more air than adults do (relative to body weight) and in these closed spaces it doesn’t take long for the germs to spread.
7. Respiratory Illnesses
Asthma has been on the rise since the 80s and it affects all ages, races, and classes. It may be a silent illness, but it is an epidemic that has a disastrous impact on quality of life. Poor indoor air quality is seriously exacerbating it.
Some people are at greater risk than others and it is the elderly who are at the top of the list. It makes sense as they spend the majority of their time indoors (around 20 hours a day) so they are particularly vulnerable to poor air quality.
9. Serious Damage
There are a wide variety of pollutants to indoor air quality and the majority of them are fine particulate matter which is easy to inhale, thus quick to get into the bloodstream. The most common symptoms include fatigue, dry eyes, nausea, nasal congestion, and headaches. However, more serious problems include asthma, stroke, depression, lung infections, neural distress, lung cancer, and immune dysfunction.
10. Wood Smoke
Make sure you spend as much time outside as possible, but you can improve your air quality with adequate ventilation, regular air filter cleaning, and using a damp cloth to dust.
Quite simply, it’s all about being more aware of what you do in your home. Check out our other blogs on indoor air quality for even more great tips on how to improve the quality of air in your home!