Many people don’t realize that they are breathing and living in a polluted environment. When we spend time indoors, we take in the air of the space around us, containing harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon gas, and asbestos fibres.
Some of these pollutants come from our homes or offices, while others may be present because of commercial products like paints and carpeting. Luckily there are ways to purify your indoor air so you can breathe easier! This article will detail eight sources of indoor air pollution and eight solutions to get rid of it!
Install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide detectors can be found in most hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive. Just follow the instructions on installing your device!
It will go off if there is an unsafe level of CO present or when you use gas appliances like cooking stoves, fireplace, furnaces, water heaters etc. If your detector goes off, call 911 immediately as this could be life-threatening!
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
You can buy products that cleaners claim remove VOCs1 from carpets and upholstery, but how effective these are is debatable.
If you have a cat or dog, try washing your pets frequently. Try vacuuming the floors every day and reduce the number of chemical cleaners in your home as much as possible.
When cooking or showering, open windows will let out some formaldehyde from new kitchen cabinets, flooring, etc. Make sure that you use an exhaust fan if using gas appliances like ovens/ stoves and dryers because these release high levels of formaldehyde into the atmosphere (this is why I don’t want my stove on for too long). The best solution, though, would be to install ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathroom so that the formaldehyde doesn’t build up while you use those areas and never gets a chance to enter your lungs.
If you live near a septic system, have cracks or gaps in foundation walls, or suspect your home has high radon levels, this would be a good time for testing with an inexpensive do-it-yourself test; it’s easy and takes only minutes – if tests results come back positive, consult experts as soon as possible because there is no cure for radon poisoning.
Keep your pet out of the living areas as much as possible- they can carry allergens2 that trigger asthma attacks or other respiratory problems for people with sensitivities.
If you do have pets around, incorporate them into your daily routine by giving them regular baths and brushing their fur regularly, this will help eliminate odours from shedding hair. Several products can help as well, like air purifiers or a good vacuum.
This is one of the top sources of indoor air pollution.
Smoke can be from cigarettes, candles or even wood fires. Smoke also makes it difficult for children to breathe and learn at school due to their sensitive respiratory systems. If you’ve just moved into a new home with smokers, we recommend that you install a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for your furnace.
If you smoke, the best way to get rid of it is to quit smoking or use a non-smoking home like an apartment with no children in it. Keep in mind that secondhand smoke is just as dangerous.
Smoke can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory conditions and lung cancer.
Paint fumes are another major source of indoor air pollution.
Paint can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have been shown to cause health problems, including headaches and respiratory conditions. If you’re painting your home or yard with oil-based paint, make sure that you use the proper ventilation system to prevent fumes from spreading throughout the house.
If you’re painting a room, always open windows and leave them open for at least 24 hours after completing your project.
If you found that there is still paint fumes in an area of the room, install a HEPA air filter to remove it.
Dusts are another significant source of indoor air pollution.
Dust is a prominent cause of allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions because it can contain mould spores, pet dander and animal fur. To prevent dust from spreading throughout the house:
- Vacuum your carpeting at least once every two weeks with a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner.
- Clean furniture with a damp cloth or duster every month and curtains at least once per year.
- Keep the humidity level in your house between 30% – 40%. If it’s too dry, you’ll want to use humidifiers or air conditioners to add moisture to the air.
If dust is already an issue in your home, invest in a HEPA filter.
HEPA filters will remove dust from the air and help reduce allergies and asthma symptoms. You should install a good quality HEPA air filter over any vents that bring outside air into the house to prevent all these pollutants from coming indoors with it.
Dangers of Low Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air pollutants are a severe health problem. There are many sources of indoor air pollution, and it’s essential to be aware of them so that you can deal with the issue properly.
One of the biggest dangers to your health is the chemicals that are used in everyday life. These include everything from cleaning products to new furniture or carpets, and they can release harmful pollutants, like gases, into your home environment.
Breathing these toxic fumes for prolonged periods can cause many serious health problems such as respiratory diseases, pulmonary disease, dizziness, nausea, memory loss, asthma, heart disease and cancer.
People with asthma or other respiratory conditions may be more sensitive to these chemicals.
In particular, those with asthma can experience difficulty breathing and chest tightness in response to the fumes released by new carpeting or furniture.
We recommend that you always use natural cleaning products such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and tea tree oil for your home – they’re natural, environmentally safe and inexpensive.
If you don’t have any of these cleaning supplies on hand, there are several products available online that will safely clean your home and get rid of those pesky indoor pollutants.
- Pollution from pets, smoke, and cooking fumes
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by household products like paints, cleaning supplies or carpets.
- Radon gas emissions in specific environments such as basements
- Biological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses that thrive in moist areas like kitchens or bathrooms
Use a high-quality, HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner when cleaning carpets and upholstery. This will help remove any allergens from the surface of furniture before they become airborne.
The use of an air purifier can remove particles in the air and destroy allergens such as mold, pollen or pet dander.
Some people believe that the smell of vinegar helps to neutralize odors. There is no scientific evidence that this works, but it may be worth a try!
- Plant fresh flowers, herbs, and vegetables in your house. This will help to improve the air quality by releasing oxygen into the area.
- Try burning incense or candles to provide a pleasant scent that removes other smells from the room.
- Open windows as often as possible when it is not raining outside.
Indoor air pollution is a severe health problem. If you’re looking for the best way to get rid of it, then these eight solutions will help!