Indoor air pollution can be a cause for concern when it comes to the health of you and your family.
Do you really know what’s in the air you breathe in your home? According to the EPA, indoor air pollutants can be 2-5 times higher than outdoor air pollutants. And “the top five air quality problems in the U.S. are all indoor air problems.”
With people spending the largest percentage of their time indoors, those statistics are alarming!
To ensure good health, it’s important to have a healthy home, free of as much indoor air pollution as possible.
What Are Some Examples of Indoor Air Pollution?
When you think of indoor air pollution, what do you think of – cigarettes, burnt food cooking on the stove, or maybe dust?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, indoor air pollution can be caused by items such as building materials, asbestos, radon, mold, and wood stoves.
Actually, in addition to all of those items you might think would cause indoor air pollution, there are many other items you use in your home which can release harmful chemicals. Items that you innocently bring into your home.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Following are four items that cause indoor air pollution at home, but can easily be changed to give you better indoor air quality.
Toxic Air fresheners
Air fresheners are manufactured with the aim of producing pleasant aromas that hide odors. They were introduced into indoor spaces with the goal of creating an indoor space that is pleasing.
Although their intention is to provide a nice aroma, air fresheners can produce pollutants that affect air quality. In studies, ingredients of commercial air fresheners were found to contain volatile compounds such as synthetic fragrances whose ingredients are not being disclosed to consumers.
Their ingredients can cause headaches and breathing difficulties that can trigger asthma attacks.
You can easily fix this source of indoor air pollution by ditching your commercial air fresheners. Instead of using air fresheners with synthetic fragrances, try opening windows to allow in fresh air, or run a fan. Additionally, essential oils or having houseplants can go a long way in making your home smell fresh.
Cleaning Chemicals Filling Your Home with Toxic Fumes
Keeping your home clean by getting rid of dust mites will help make indoor air quality better, but be careful what you use to clean.
Don’t use commercial cleaning products which have ingredients that can be harmful to your health. Commercial cleaning products can harm indoor air quality because of all of the chemical ingredients used.
In terms of household cleaners, there is no safety standard for either the ingredients or final products.
Fixing this source of indoor air pollution is easy. Be sure to purchase less toxic cleaners or make your own with a few simple ingredients such as vinegar, essential oils, or baking soda instead of purchasing chemical-filled commercial cleaners which fill your home with toxic fumes.
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Broken Compact Fluorescent Lights Emitting Mercury
Fluorescent lights (CFLs) are known to contain mercury. This means that if they break, they can release the mercury that’s in them. Mercury can cause serious harm to your body.
For safety reasons, lamps that contain CFLs should not be placed in a child’s room. It’s better to use LED lightbulbs which don’t contain mercury.
In case a CFL bulb breaks, don’t try to remove it from your carpet with a vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming could spread mercury vapors. Be sure to open windows in the room where the bulb broke. Leave the room and turn off the HVAC system. Stay out of the room for at least 10 minutes. Then follow the EPA guide for cleanup.
Fixing this source of indoor air pollution is easy. Buy LED light bulbs instead of CFL bulbs.
Are You Using Toxic Paint?
Paint cans are common in many homes. However, no matter how harmless they look, they can contain elements such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
It’s best to use low-VOC or zero-VOC paints. You can even find paint which ultimately helps improve air quality by absorbing the number of chemicals and pollutants in a room.
When you paint, be sure to ventilate the area by opening windows and doors. Also, use a fan in the room to circulate the air. You might even want to wear a mask or respirator.
Fixing this source of indoor air pollution is easy. Choose a low-VOC paint option the next time you plan to paint.
Indoor Air Pollution Can Be Improved By Making Easy Changes
As you can see, many items around our home can contribute to indoor air pollution. However, by making simple changes, you can improve your indoor air quality which is ultimately better for you and your family.