While it is common knowledge that second-hand smoke, molds and radon gas impair the quality of air indoors, there are other sources of air pollution indoors that are not as obvious. Findings from the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that indoor air is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is especially harmful to those who spend more time at home than out of it. There are a number of these indoor pollutants that are more commonly known than others and here, we take a look at a few sources of indoor pollution.
As much as the smell of a new carpet may feel okay, it is actually emitting dangerous volatile organic compounds including benzene, ethylbenzene, bromine, acetone, styrene, toluene, and formaldehyde. Regular exposure to these organic chemicals has been to cause eye irritation, headaches, drowsiness, allergies, and throat irritation.
Homes coated in old paints could cause damage to the brain and lungs. Some individuals may still live in older homes coated in lead paints which have been banned since the late 1970s. Even after decades of using a lead to coat a room, it could still be toxic. As the paint pills off into chips, these chips break down into microscopic pieces that become a part of the dust you breathe. Newer paints can also be harmful as many of them contain hazardous volatile organic compounds and can emit these chemicals for even months after the room is coated.
Air fresheners are great for covering up bad indoor odors. However, they could actually worsen the quality of indoor air by emitting toxic pollutants that are harmful to the health. Phthalates – especially harmful to children and newborns, are used to support the fragrance of many air fresheners. They contain endocrine disruptors, could hamper the development of male sex organs and lead to the abnormal development of the male genitalia.
In a bid to clean up indoor air and improve the quality of breathable air, ozone generators have been produced to get rid of toxins. However, some of these devices contain large concentrations of ozone – a potent lung irritant. While the smell of ozone could feel sweet and pleasant, routine exposure to it has been linked to the aggravation of chronic lung diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Liver Disease (COPD).
A gas stove is a very important item in the kitchen and you do not necessarily have to get rid of it. However, they emit nitrogen dioxide – a highly reactive gas that creates toxic organic nitrates when mixed with air. This could lead to irritation of the lungs, increasing the body’s susceptibility to respiratory infections.
This could be even worse when gas stoves are used in a poorly ventilated kitchen. Ensure the kitchen is well ventilated during and after cooking – a ventilation fan of high quality would be ideal. Where a ventilation fan is not available, try to cook close to open window to improve the quality of air in the kitchen – and indoors!
Home Air Quality Check for Healthy Indoor Air
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