Common air pollutants and how to overcome them
You may not realise it, but according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the air you breathe inside your home can sometimes be more polluted than the air outside. A 2012 study by the World Health Organisation suggests that complications from breathing dirty indoor air are responsible for 4.3 million premature deaths each year.
What’s causing all the indoor pollution? Take a look at some of the most common culprits, and what you can do to overcome them.
Mould is a type of fungi that can grow in your home where damp or rot is present. Mould releases spores in the air that can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Some mould is harmless, but other types can lead to health issues.
The best way to combat mould is to ensure your home is warm, dry, and free from rot in wood or food. Clean up spills as soon as they happen, manage humidity and vent appliances that create moisture.
The health effects of inhaling just a little cigarette smoke are significant. Even if you’re not a smoke, if you share your home with someone who is, you could be increasing your risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, nasal sinus cancer, and strokes, among other concerns. Secondhand smoke is especially risky for children and pregnant women.
To reduce your exposure, encourage guests and smoking housemates to leave the house when they light up. However, since the toxic chemicals in cigarettes cling to their clothing and can be transferred to soft furnishings, walls, and furniture.
Stoves, heaters, fireplaces and chimneys
According to the American Lung Association, any item in your home that relies on the burning of fuel to produce heat could also be contributing fine particle pollution, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, black carbon and air toxins such as benzene into your home. Long term, this can have serious health effects.
To prevent air pollution from these items, use exhaust fans over your stove, and keep your heaters, fireplaces and chimneys regularly serviced, cleaned, and checked for damage. Don’t use these if they are damaged. Make sure your rooms are well-vented.
Paints and cleaning products are some of the biggest air polluters inside the home. Watch out for ingredients like benzene, perchloroethylene, methylene chloride and ammonia bleach.
If you’re painting in your home, isolate the rooms of the house to reduce harm from breathing in the fumes. Wear proper protective gear, and dispose of the paint cans in the proper manner.
As a consumer, you have the power to choose products made from certified natural ingredients, like those from Living Green.
How clean is the air in your home? You can make positive changes today to enable you to breathe easier in the future.