• Indoor air pollution can come from vehicles, cigarette smoke, mold, mildew, and heaters.
• Exposure to indoor air pollution can cause respiratory issues, eye irritation, fatigue, headaches and migraines, and cancer risk.
• Steps to reduce indoor air pollution include keeping air ducts clean, installing air purifiers, providing ventilation, limiting the use of pesticides, and testing for mold/mildew.
• Proper prevention and maintenance can help keep homes free from dangerous pollutants and ensure that families breathe safe and clean air.
• Make sure you’re familiar with the causes of indoor air pollution and take steps to reduce your exposure.
With so much attention placed on outdoor air pollution, it’s easy to forget what’s happening indoors. After all, indoor air pollution can be just as dangerous—if not more so—than its outdoor counterpart. Unfortunately, many Americans are completely unaware of the potential risks posed by indoor air pollution, and that’s a problem. Here’s a look at what precisely indoor air pollution is and how it can affect your health.
What Is Indoor Air Pollution?
Indoor air pollution is any airborne contaminants inside buildings or other enclosed structures. These particles can come from mold cooking fumes to dust mites. Inhaling these pollutants can adversely affect human health, including respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
There are various reasons for air pollution. However, here are the highest contributors to indoor air pollution today:
One of the most overlooked sources of indoor air pollution is vehicle emissions. Small particles from gas and diesel-fueled engines can be drawn into the home through open windows and ventilation systems, leading to poor air quality.
Secondhand smoke is a significant source of indoor air pollution. In addition to the hazardous chemicals in cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke contains ultrafine particles that can be inhaled and cause respiratory issues.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are naturally occurring fungi that thrive in damp areas like bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. They have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and other respiratory illnesses.
Heaters such as kerosene heaters can produce high levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants, leading to long-term health issues.
What Are The Effects Of Indoor Air Pollution?
Exposure to indoor air pollution can cause a variety of health issues. Here are some of them.
One of the leading causes of indoor air pollution is dust and other allergens, which can cause respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis.
If exposure is long-term, particles in the air can cause eye irritation and even damage the eyes’ cornea.
Exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, which results in extreme exhaustion and difficulty concentrating.
Headaches & Migraines
Airborne pollutants can cause headaches and migraines due to chemical irritants or allergies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified some indoor air pollutants as carcinogens, increasing your risk of developing cancer.
What Can You Do To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution?
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce indoor air pollution and improve the air quality in your home. Here are some tips:
Keep Air Ducts Clean
Your air ducts are one of the primary sources of indoor air pollution. Make sure to have them cleaned regularly to reduce the amount of dust and dirt in your home. You can hire local air duct cleaners to help you. These cleaners can also help identify potential sources of indoor air pollution.
Install Air Purifiers
Air purifiers can filter out allergens and pollutants, making breathing easier. Choose an air purifier with a HEPA filter for maximum efficiency. You can also install an air purifier in each room to increase the overall efficiency of your system.
Opening windows and doors regularly can help improve indoor air quality by allowing fresh air to circulate and reducing airborne contaminants. Ensure to open windows when cooking, cleaning, or running any appliances that produce smoke or fumes.
Pesticides are a significant source of indoor air pollution. If you need to use them for pest control, limit their use as much as possible and ensure they are adequately ventilated before entering a building.
Test For Mold & Mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in damp areas, so check for them periodically. If you spot mold or mildew in your home, hire a professional to remove it.
Indoor air pollution is an often overlooked but severe hazard. Ensure you’re familiar with the causes of indoor air pollution and take steps to reduce your exposure. With proper prevention and maintenance, you can keep your home free from dangerous pollutants and ensure that your family’s air is clean and safe.