5 Major Indoor Air Pollutants You Should Watch Out For
Even in the comfort of your own home, you’re not safe from air pollutants. Contrary to what homeowners think, the indoor air of their property can still bring in various irritants and gasses that could potentially harm the occupants. For this post, we discussed the most common indoor air pollutants and their sources according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Asbestos is widely used in various building construction materials due to its heat resistance and fiber strength. It’s a mineral fiber that gets airborne during sanding, cutting, and remodeling activities inside the property.
Improper efforts to reduce asbestos in the air can result in further health threats. If inhaled regularly, asbestos fibers will be carried to the lower parts of the lungs, which can lead to fibrotic lung disease. Prolonged exposure can also lead to cancer and mesothelioma, among the extreme effects of indoor air pollution.
Biological pollutants include pet dander, pollens, cat and dog saliva, mites, and other naturally occurring irritants. These pollutants thrive in high humidity levels, which can lead to various respiratory problems.
One of the most common biological pollutants is mold. It quickly grows in dark and damp areas. Soon enough, the spores will go airborne, which the occupants will inhale directly.
Take note that these pollutants can trigger asthma attacks and worsen underlying respiratory problems. Some may develop allergic reactions over an extended period of exposure.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and highly lethal gas. It can kill people even before they know that high levels of CO are present in their homes.
The common CO sources are unvented gas space heaters, leaking chimneys, tobacco smoke, automobile exhausts, and more.
Low concentrations of CO can lead to unexplained fatigue and chest pains. At high levels, you’ll experience impaired vision, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and oxygen inhibition in the bloodstream. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of CO will kill a person.
Lead is a widely recognized pollutant. It’s more harmful to children since their bodies absorb more lead than adults. Also, their developing brains are more prone to the damaging effects of this substance.
Lead can be found in many household items, including water pipes, paint, toys, ceramics, and more. Unregulated toys and other household items tend to contain high levels of lead, which poses a threat to your household.
In some areas, lead can be found in tap water. One of the indoor air pollution solutions is to filter your water always.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Of all types of indoor air pollution, VOCs are the most common. VOCs can be found on various construction materials like paint, wood preservatives, aerosols, pesticides, mothballs, and more. It’s also the culprit behind the ‘sick building syndrome’ since VOCs get trapped in air-conditioned spaces.
Volatile Organic Compounds are easy to get rid of. The place needs to be appropriately aerated before sealing and occupancy. However, most builders overlook this part, leading the occupants to get sick from the fumes of the materials.