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Common Indoor Air Pollutants & How to Prevent Them

05Oct

Many of us are aware of dust and mold being common air pollutants within our homes. However, there are other, more deadly particles that can enter our air flow system undetected. Below is a list of common air pollutants that can be harmful to those living in your home.

  • Carbon Monoxide
    1. Carbon monoxide stops your body from using oxygen, and if there is a high enough concentration of it, it could have deadly results.
    2. If you do not already have one, install a carbon monoxide detector.
    3. Prevent CO from intruding your home by constantly having your HVAC appliances inspected by a professional and that all appliances are installed correctly.
  • Pet Dander
    1. Tiny flecks of skin from all kinds of pets (cats, dogs, rodents, and birds to name a few) is pet dander. Also, proteins found in the pet’s saliva, urine, and feces can cause additional allergens.
    2. How do we fix this? While the obvious solution would be to either avoid having a pet in the home or getting rid of the pet, this is not an option for some. Try to keep the pet out of bedrooms and off furniture. Vacuum carpets and clean regularly.
  • RadonRadon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. The source of radon is the rock and soil around your home. As it decays, the radioactive byproducts can enter your home through cracks in the floors and walls.
    1. Homeowners can test for radon using a home kit or by contacting a professional. If you have high levels of radon in your home, along with sealing any cracks you can install a separate radon ventilation system.
  • Cleaning Supplies & Household Chemicals
    1. Many common cleaning products contain a wide array of chemicals that could cause or lead to occupational asthma, headaches, and respiratory problems. VOCs (volatile organic compounds), ammonia, and bleach release dangerous chemicals and can cause additional hazardous reactions when mixed with other chemicals.
    2. A safe alternative to these chemical-based products is to use just soap and water, baking soda for scrubbing, and vinegar and water for glass cleaning.
    3. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of products that meet its Safer Choice requirements.
  • Carpets
    1. Carpets trap pollutants such as dust mites, pet dander, cockroach allergens, particle pollution, mold, and more. Additionally, watch out during new carpet installations for VOCs. Carpets can contain glues and chemicals that contain volatile organic compounds.
    2. Avoid installing carpets and opt for hard surfaced floors or rugs that can easily be cleaned and replaced.

For further information and resources on the topic of indoor air pollutants, please visit the American Lung Association’s website, http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/?referrer=http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/?referrer=https://www.google.com/.

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