What You Need to Know about Indoor Air Pollution
ndoor air pollutionin modern homes can be worse than the pollution outside. Even the cleanest homes may not have clean and healthy air. Pollutants include many of the chemical ingredients and emissions from common household items including gas stoves, hardwood plywood paneling, building materials, and various cleaning products. Indoor air pollution can also be caused by illness-causing elements like asbestos, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, radon, mold, mildew, dust, and dander.
When it comes to the health effects of indoor air pollution, researchers cite a phenomenon known as "sick-building syndrome," where being constantly exposed to pollution can cause symptoms of sickness. Short-term symptoms include coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, upper-respiratory congestion, and memory lapses. There is also evidence that raised levels of indoor air pollution may reduce productivity. Over the long term, exposure to indoor air pollution can lead to permanent damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, as well as an increased risk of respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer. Some studies even suggest that exposure to long-term air pollution exposure can lead to psychological distress, poorer sperm quality in men, and an increased risk of birth defects.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Improving your indoor air quality takes a multi-faceted approach. First of all, there is prevention. Avoid products that contain harmful ingredients that contribute to pollution. Switch to natural household cleaning supplies that do not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Skip air fresheners, soaps, detergents, and other products scented with artificial fragrances, and use essential oils or natural ingredients to improve the smell of your home. When doing renovations, look for natural building materials free of toxins. And, of course, always direct smokers to an area outside the home to prevent tobacco smoke buildup indoors. According to Philip Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, second hand cigarette smoke is the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution.
Soft materials, such as your curtains, drapes, and carpets, can act like magnets for illness-causing elements. Everything from dander to dust mites can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing in the home. You can prevent indoor air pollution by having them cleaned regularly. By getting a professional cleaning from professionals like those at Super Mario Carpet Cleaning, you remove the dirt, dust, and pollen that gets trapped deep down in the fibers for a cleaner and healthier home overall.
Changing the filters in your home’s air conditioning and heating systems is an essential part of preventing indoor pollution. These filters help remove allergens from the air in your home so clean air is reintroduced. If changing your filters is one of those things that is constantly slipping your mind, look into an air filter subscription that mails you the materials when you need them, so you save time going to the hardware store while getting a friendly reminder that it’s time to do the chore in the first place.
Finally, if you want to improve your indoor air quality, go green. Placing plants around the house is like adding little air filters in every corner. According to NASA research, many common houseplants and blooming potted plants help fight indoor pollution by removing harmful irritants like formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Some of the best green things to buy include spider plants, golden pothos, Chinese evergreens, and bamboo palms-- but in truth, any and all plants have the innate ability to filter and purify the air around them.
Indoor air pollution, can result in many short- and long-term health problems. To prevent illness, it’s important to avoid products and activities that contribute to pollution. A clean home has clean air-- make sure to schedule professional cleaning for carpets, curtains, and drapes to ensure allergens are not caught up in these soft materials. Your home’s heating and cooling systems filter the air throughout the home, but they can’t do it effectively if you forget to change the filters. Look into an air filter subscription service to stay on top of your home’s needs. Finally, go green and add houseplants around the home to filter and purify the air in every room.