Understanding Indoor Air Quality Issues
With the current focus on climate change and sustainability, many people are becoming more aware of outdoor air pollution. However, we often spend up to 90% of our time indoors, so understanding and addressing indoor air quality issues is just as crucial for our health and wellbeing.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants
There are many potential indoor air pollutants lurking in our homes and offices. Some of the most concerning include:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints, varnishes, cleaning products, etc.
- Dust mites, mold, and other biological contaminants
- Radon gas seeping from the ground into buildings
- Carbon monoxide from gas stoves and furnaces
- Secondhand smoke
Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
Exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to concerning health issues like:
- Asthma attacks and aggravated allergy symptoms
- Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Cancer risk from radon and secondhand smoke
Improving Indoor Air Quality
While indoor air pollution may seem scary, there are practical steps you can take to create a healthier home, including:
- Open windows regularly to let in fresh air
- Use green cleaning products without harsh chemicals
- Invest in air purifying plants
- Upgrade HVAC air filters
- Test home for radon and mold if concerned
Focusing on Prevention
Like many health issues, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to indoor air quality. Simple habitual changes can reduce exposure to airborne toxins and create a safer, healthier living environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top 3 indoor air pollutants I should worry about?
The most concerning indoor air pollutants are often volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon gas, and mold/biological contaminants. These can accumulate easily indoors and have been linked to health issues.
What household items emit VOCs?
Many common household products like paints, varnishes, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing, building materials, and some furniture release concerning VOCs that can accumulate in indoor air.
How can I tell if my home has high radon levels?
You can purchase an easy to use radon test kit to measure the gas levels in your home’s air. High readings may require consulting a radon mitigation system professional to address the issue.
What’s the best way to control mold in my house?
Controlling moisture and humidity levels through ventilation, dehumidifiers, and prompt leak repair can help prevent mold growth. Routinely cleaning bathrooms, basements, and other damp areas also keeps mold in check.
Which air purifying plants work best?
Some great air purifying plants to place throughout your home include snake plants, aloe vera, English ivy, peace lilies, spider plants, and several varieties of philodendrons. Group them together for maximum air cleaning power!