Indoor Air Pollution How Is Your Air By Thomas Husnik

Air pollution contributes to lung disease, including respiratory tract infections, asthma, and lung cancer. Lung disease claims close to 335,000 lives in America every year and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over the last decade, the death rate for lung disease has risen faster than for almost any other major disease.

Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. In addition, it can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue. People who already have respiratory diseases are at greater risk.
Biological pollutants, including molds, bacteria, viruses, pollen, dust mites, and animal dander promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work and school. In office buildings, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems are frequent sources of biological substances that are inhaled, leading to breathing problems.

To help prevent growth of mold when humidity is high, make sure bathrooms, kitchens and basements have good air circulation and are cleaned often. The basement in particular may need a dehumidifier. And remember, the water in the dehumidifier must be emptied and the container cleaned often to prevent forming mildew.

An estimated one out of every 15 homes in the United States has radon levels above 4pci/L, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency-recommended action level. Radon, a naturally occurring gas, can enter the home through cracks in the foundation floor and walls, drains, and other openings. Indoor radon exposure is estimated to be the second leading cause of lung cancer. A recent report by the National Research Council estimates that radon is responsible for between 15,000 and 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.

Formaldehyde is a common chemical, found primarily in adhesive or bonding agents for many materials found in households and offices, including carpets, upholstery, particle board, and plywood paneling. The release of formaldehyde into the air may cause health problems, such as coughing; eye, nose, and throat irritation; skin rashes, headaches, and dizziness.

Asbestos is the name given to a group of microscopic mineral fibers that are flexible and durable and will not burn. Asbestos fibers are light and small enough to remain airborne; they can be inhaled into the lungs and can cause asbestosis (scarring of the lung tissue), lung cancer and mesothelioma, a relatively uncommon cancer of the lining of the lung or abdominal cavity.

Many asbestos products are found in the home, including roofing and flooring materials, wall and pipe insulation, spackling compounds, cement, coating materials, heating equipment, and acoustic insulation. These products are a potential problem indoors only if the asbestos-containing material is disturbed and becomes airborne, or when it disintegrates with age.

Heating systems and other home appliances using gas, fuel, or wood, can produce several combustion products, of which the most dangerous are carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Fuel burning stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, water heaters, and dryers are all combustion appliances.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that interferes with the distribution of oxygen to the body. Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can impede coordination, worsen cardiovascular conditions, and produce fatigue, headache, confusion, nausea, and dizziness. Very high levels can cause death.

Nitrogen dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that irritates the mucous membranes in the eye, nose and throat and causes shortness of breath after exposure to high concentrations. Prolonged exposure to high levels of this gas can damage respiratory tissue and may lead to chronic bronchitis.

Household cleaning agents, personal care products, pesticides, paints, hobby products, and solvents may be sources of hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals. Such components in many household and personal care products can cause dizziness, nausea, allergic reactions, eye/skin/respiratory tract irritation, and cancer.
Check out these tips:
Formidable indoor air pollutants, can be found in everything from your furniture to your flooring, and, while it’s to be avoided at all times, it’s even more important to be wary of it during the warm summer months. Get rid of your particle-board furniture. Particle board and other pressed woods often contain formaldehyde.

Change the filter on your furnace or air conditioner every three months. Use a high-efficiency filter to keep out a third more pollutants.

Clean the air with plants! NASA studies show that plants give out oxygen while soaking up air pollutants!
Keep your home dry. Do you have a leaky faucet? A basement with water stains all over the floor? Dry that place out. Mold and mildew can be some of the most damaging things in your home’s air.

Carpets can be horrible for air quality. There are some new kinds of carpet that reduce these problems, but for the most part, carpets collect dust and dander. Vacuum your carpets regularly.

Ditch the air fresheners. They may cover embarrassing bathroom smells, but they do a number on your air quality.

Use environmentally friendly cleansers. Those harsh, abrasive chemically potent cleansers aren’t just tough on stains. They are tough on your lungs.

Avoid moth balls. I’ve never had moth problems, but if I did, I sure as sugar wouldn’t put balls of poison near my clothes.

Keep your house clean. You air quality can be increased by leaps and bounds by simply keeping the joint tidy.

Don’t allow smoking in your house.Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) also called “secondhand smoke,” a major indoor air pollutant, contains about 4,000 chemicals, including 200 known poisons, such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, as well as 43 carcinogens.


4 responses to this post.

  1. […] Original post by greenstandards […]


  2. Posted by greggforster on April 22, 2009 at 4:49 am

    Great tips! A wholistic solution is key, looking at eliminating sources of indoor pollution where possible, monitoring indoor air quality like AirMD and the NORMI protocols recommend, and then actively purifying the air in the home. Thanks for posting this helpful information.


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