Some Surprising Sources Of Air Pollution In Your Own Home
Maybe it’s beyond your expectations, but indoor air can be as much as 70 times dirtier than the air outside, regardless of where you are living. The EPA does deal with and has made great strides in regulating the outdoor air, and it has been getting cleaner and cleaner every year. However, the inside air can be contaminated in many ways, and only you can take action to keep it clean.
Indoor Air Pollution Can And Does Kill
There are many sources of indoor air pollution that are known to most people – these include radon, carbon monoxide, secondhand smoke and the like – all prominent and deadly. There are still some fairly insidious sources that, as a home owner, you should be concerned about. The American Lung Association lists several of these:
The use of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers can cost several hundred dollars for a stand-alone unit and much more for one integrated into a central air conditioning system. The “shock treatment” that many manufacturers promise for the defeat and elimination of bacteria and mold can also produce ozone. Many of those makers claim this is a good thing.
Ozone, as you may well remember, is a chief component of smog. It can trigger asthma attacks. It can scar lung tissue and shorten your life. Those are only a couple of reasons the EPA cracks down on the sources of this outside.
So, when choosing an air purifier, pay attention to whether it produces ozone.
Paint is safe, isn’t it?
The lead paint of old has been banned and is no longer for sale. If there is some on the walls in an older home, this should, of course, be covered over carefully because lead paint fumes can be ingested by anyone getting the dust on their hands, especially kids who like to put everything in their mouths.
New paints release volatile organic compounds that can have a fairly large range of health effects if the dust is inhaled. Ventilation is the shortcut to reducing exposure. The better way is to use low VOC paints in your next painting session.
Surely my carpets are not a danger to my family?
The carpet that your kids play on and you depend on for a little of the warmth in the room is one of the largest air cleaners in your home. It harbors, at any point in time, pet dander, fungus, dirt, dust, dust mites, germs, bacteria and any allergens that are prevalent in your area, including pollen and mold spores from outside that have been dragged in.
If any of these can cause allergic reactions to anyone in the house, it is dangerous. One of the things that might not be uppermost in your mind is the manufacturing chemicals used to fabricate your soft, plush floor covering. Some of these chemicals can off-gas into the room, like formaldehyde, which irritates the nose and throat and can trigger asthma attacks.
Adequate vacuuming schedules, with a HEPA filtered vacuum, can help remove much of these organisms, and many people have gotten rid of them in this way.
How about the products I use to clean everything up with?
You are probably aware of the danger of mixing a chlorine based product with an acid based one. It can create a chlorine gas that can overpower you before you know what is happening. This type of gas has often been used in terrorist-designed attacks, leaving many people incapacitated.
Many other cleaning products have chemicals or compounds that are toxic, and your entire cleaning closet should be examined to determine whether you are creating a cleaner environment or possibly poisoning a good many surfaces without being aware of it.
A list of these to look at and reconsider includes solvents, pesticides and some polishes. There are alternatives, and some of them, such those using baking soda, vinegar and ammonia, are going to be just as effective and safer.
Cabinets and Furniture hide some dangers as well
Formaldehyde is used in the glues in a lot of pressed board furniture, cabinets, shelving and countertops. This can off-gas, just as it does from carpets. It becomes airborne and filters throughout the entire home. Verify whether the glue used in that next purchase has this chemical in it, or simply buy wooden furniture that brings warmth and functionality into your home.
Taking a good look at your home to determine anything else that may be contaminating the air inside is a good exercise. Check online for other items that can cause medical issues to worsen for you, your family and friends you invite into your home.