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Is your Indoor Air a Cloud of Pollution?

Photo of Bob Byrne wearing a full face respiratorThe air in our buildings are often 2 to 5 times more toxic than outdoor air. We often overlook indoor air quality when we consider the factors that influence our health and our wellbeing. You spend approximately half of your life at home, so it’s important to make sure you aren’t spending your time sitting in a cloud of pollution.

The health effects of poor indoor quality can be experienced rapidly, but more often than not, symptoms show up after years of repeated exposure. Depending on your personal sensitivity, how long and how potent the exposure is, you can experience a wide range of symptoms. Children and the Elderly are often impacted the most.

Short-term effects of polutted indoor air include:

  • Itchy, dry or irritated eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy throat or coughing
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Agitated allergy or asthma symptoms
  • Sinus congestion or infections

If you go a longer period of time exposed to indoor air pollution, you can experience serious symptoms and health consequences due to the constant burden on your body’s immune system.

Long-term effects of poor indoor air quality include:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic inflammatory response syndrome

 

Where do indoor air toxins come from?

People are often surprised at the sources of indoor air toxins. Everyday this list is growing because manufacturers continue to add chemicals to products at an unprecedented rate. The process for adding new chemicals to our everyday items has almost zero oversight. Meaning, we often don’t know a chemical is toxic until after it’s caused harm.

Everyone should include reducing toxic exposure to their daily routine – it’s as important as diet and exercise. You can learn more by contacting us at Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality Services.

When it comes to indoor air toxins, there are a number of sources you might not have considered.

  • Mold Our homes are essentially made from thick paper and wood. When water or moisture is added, it’s a perfect breeding ground for mold and mold spores. If your home has mold, you’ll often notice your symptoms are worse after a rain or on a day with high humidity.
  • Furniture – Our furniture is a major source of indoor air contaminants. Chemicals are often used on furniture as fire retardants or other protective coatings. Toxic gases, vapor, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can offgas from your furniture for months, even years after you’ve purchased it.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – VOC levels are common in household products and a major source of indoor air pollution. Sources of VOCs include cleaning supplies, aerosol sprays, dry cleaning, air fresheners, paint, and wood treatments.
  • Stoves, fireplaces, heaters – Stove and heater leaks, fireplace smoke, and carbon monoxide from chimneys may not be enough to set any alarms off but could still be contributing your you health. Have these checked and don’t ignore the smell of gas.
  • Dust mites – One of the most powerful indoor biological allergen prefers damp environments and contaminates your air.
  • Airborne viruses and bacteria – Airborne viruses and bacteria are major culprits behind the flu and other illness. Air purifiers actually clean your air and remove these infection causing pathogens.
  • Pet dander – Flakes of skin from your pet add to indoor air pollution.
  • Pollen from plants – While plants are a nice addition to your home, their pollen contributes to the overall air quality, and without purification can cause problems.
  • Printers and other electronics – Gases and chemical from electronics, printer cartridges, and photocopiers.
  • Cleaning products – This is a more obvious source of chemicals, I encourage you to use only natural cleaning products.
  • Tobacco smoke – I really hope you aren’t smoking inside (or at all for that matter!) but if you do, you most definitely need an air purifier.

Most homes have a majority of the items listed here, so it’s easy to see how these can compound on one another and without proper air circulation and purification, your home can quickly become a cloud of indoor air pollution.

Fortunately, awareness of potential toxin sources is half the battle.

The tricky part about toxins in the air is you really only have two options:

  1. Eliminate the source.
  2. Circulate, Condition and Filter the air.

Think about it.

Most people are home for minimum of 8 hours to 12 hours each day, that works out to be half of your life. Imagine the impact of ensuring the air you’re breathing during that time is clean, fresh, and most importantly, free of toxins.

 

Bob at Volunteer Inspections visits the mold lab and enjoys a selfie with weird piece of equipment.

Bob is the General Manager of Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality in Knoxville, TN and is hppy to respond to your inquiries. Contact him now.

 

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