According to the EPA, the levels of indoor air pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels and in some cases these levels can exceed 100 times that of outdoor levels of the same pollutants!
Maintaining quality indoor air is critical for good health. Clean air through a house air system can prevent environmental health hazards such as asthma. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Asthma affects 25 million people in a given year – including 7 million children.
COMMON INDOOR AIR POLLUTANTS
Carbon monoxide is an odorless invisible gas emitted from cars. If you have a garage attached to your house it’s not uncommon to have some levels of carbon monoxide.
Radon gas is radioactive gas that forms from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. You cannot see, taste or smell Radon and it’s typically found in mines or in basements that flood or have little or no ventilation. The Western New York region tends to have higher radon levels than other areas of the Country and levels can vary widely between houses in the same neighborhood. Exposure to both radon and tobacco smoke is especially hazardous to your health.
Cigarette smoking is an undisputed cause of lung cancer, not all cases of lung cancer occur in smokers or former smokers. Each year over 170,000 Americans develop lung cancer and approximately 10% of lung cancer diagnosis occurs in non-smokers.
Asbestos and other substances. Asbestos is a mineral made of tiny fibers that are easily inhaled. Because it is so hard to destroy asbestos fibers, the body cannot break them down or remove them once they are lodged in lung or body tissues. They remain in place where they can cause disease. Asbestos is used in numerous industries such as steel plants, shipbuilding, brake repair, insulation, plumbing and construction. Non-smokers who work in certain occupations such as construction and chemical industries or who live with people who work in those occupations are often exposed to asbestos and other harmful substances like arsenic, chromium, nickel, soot and tar.
Air pollution includes all of the above plus repeated exposure everyday hazards like diesel fumes, smog, smoke and low-quality air days.
Cooking smoke One study conducted more than a decade ago found that cooking was by far the largest contributor to air pollution inside homes! Another study in China also found the highest rates of lung cancer in women, even though men smoked the most tobacco. This is important to note because Women do more of the cooking (in most societies) and the researchers speculated their exposure to food fumes explained the trend.
Indoor mold includes aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold). Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found on foods and in home air conditioning systems. It’s not impossible to get rid of mold because the spores can’t grow without moisture so reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners; especially in hot and humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air. Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing and red or itchy eyes or skin.
Lead particles can be found in all parts of our environment – the food, air, soil, and the water. And yes, even inside our homes via lead-based paints that may have been used in older homes. Much of our exposure comes from the past use of leaded gasoline and some types of industrial facilities.
Nitrogen dioxide. Road traffic is the number one source of nitrogen dioxide outside. The most important indoor sources of Nitrogen Dioxide come from tobacco smoke, gas, wood, oil, kerosene and coal burning appliances like stoves, ovens, space and water heaters, and even fireplaces because NO2 forms when fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas or diesel) are burned at high temperatures. Health effects from breathing nitrogen oxides can include Irritation of the respiratory system, eyes, and skin.
Other effects include asthma, coughing, choking, nausea, headache and difficulty breathing.
TEST THE QUALITY OF YOUR INDOOR AIR
1-Purchase an indoor air quality monitor.
2-Test for mold in the air.
3-Install carbon monoxide alarms.
SAFE AND NATURAL WAYS TO PURIFY THE AIR IN YOUR HOME
1-Open some windows to increase ventilation!
2-Beeswax candles act as natural air purifiers.
4-activated charcoal filters,
5-essential oils are a few other ways to add health benefits to your indoor air quality.