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Indoor air pollution can go undetected for a serious amount of time before a household or workplace notices the effects, not to mention that it can create a terrible odor making things very unpleasant for everyone. It can also be responsible for illnesses and allergies that occur long after an individual has been subjected to the poor-quality air. Understanding common pollutants can assist in maintaining the quality of your air and lower your health risks.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution can be a result of the following elements:
- Chemicals from household cleaning products
- Secondhand smoke
- Carpet fumes
- Paint and VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- Gases associated with gas cooking stoves
- Your common air purifier
- Damp buildings and mold
The Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
The immediate effects of exposure include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. These effects are usually short term and can be treated, however they are likely to cause a significant amount of discomfort. Chronic illnesses such as asthma may be aggravated by air pollutants and flare up. If the cause of the pollution can be identified and eliminated, these symptoms are likely to calm. The effects of the pollution largely depend on the person being affected based on elements such as age, preexisting medical conditions as well as sensitivity to pollution. Where one person may suffer from a small amount of chemical pollutants, another may never feel the effects at all.
The long-term effects are more serious and will occur years after exposure or after repeated exposure periods. Respiratory diseases, heart diseases and some cancers can be the result. Because the effects of these diseases are not immediately noticeable, they have an extended amount of time to develop, should the individual be exposed to air pollution for long periods of time.
Reducing Indoor Air Pollution
Being one of the top 5 of environmental health risks, creating a healthy, pollutant free, environment should be high on your priority list. Completely reducing every source of air pollution in your home/office/school is virtually impossible since toxins are everywhere. But the aim is to reduce them as much as possible, and is a small but necessary step to improving indoor air quality.
Sprays such as window cleaners seem to cause the most amount of concerns when it comes to health. Although bleach sanitizers such as chlorine bleach remove germs and ease asthma and allergies, these chemicals are related to other respiratory diseases. Natural cleaning products will have a lesser amount of harmful chemicals as part of their composition and is a safer option for household usage. Avoid smoking indoors. Secondhand smoke can have a serious effect on others and can easily be prevented.
Proper air ventilation systems within your home, school, or office will help reduce the amount of air pollution. This will ensure that there is a consistent flow of indoor and outdoor air moving through your household.
Installing an indoor air quality system will assist in removing contaminants from the air circulating within your home. HEPA filters are one of the most efficient types of systems that remove a substantial number of toxic microns that pass through. Having these filters installed in your ductwork can effectively assist in purifying air by removing airborne contaminants in your household.
Another measure you can use is to invest in regular maintenance and cleaning of your air ducts and air conditioning systems. This way, you will be able to identify any concerns that may become more serious at a later stage which may even be causing indoor air pollution without you being aware. The development of mold in the air ducts is a common occurrence due to Florida’s heat. Aside from the health problems that can be created through the presence of mold in your ventilation system, it can damage the functioning of your system. Through regular maintenance, you ensure that this doesn’t get out of hand as well as ensuring your air quality remains the best possible. Regular maintenance can save you costs down the line because any serious concerns affecting your indoor air quality can be flagged and corrected.
Your home is essentially an integrated system and having all parts of this system working together efficiently is one of our best suggestions to ensure a healthy environment for you and your family. Although these highlighted concerns may not rear their head daily, they are still occurring in the background and have been proven to cause much harm to the health of those affected. With a few changes to your usual behavior, you could be saving yourself many headaches up ahead.