Although we place locks and deadbolts on our doors, install fire and burglar alarms to warn us against danger, many people are unaware of the hidden environmental menaces in the home.
Indoor air pollution is listed among the top five environmental hazards to public health. Because the problem is often invisible, and does not affect us immediately, the danger is often ignored.
A study by The Environmental Working Group in 2009 uncovered 457 air contaminants in 21 household cleaners. The chemicals, when dispersed through the air, posed serious health risks. Even products labeled "green" contained contaminants.
The Environmental Protection Agency continually warns us about the hazards of indoor air pollution. These invisible contaminants can cause rooms to be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. The process of decline is slow because these particles and gases are distributed in small concentrations.
Over time they can cause sickness; exacerbating diseases such as asthma and allergies. We breathe in toxic cleaning solvents or chemicals such as glues, epoxies or certain paints can release fumes. Poor circulation or ventilation causes these particulates and gases to remain indoors and in our lungs.
Identifying the Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
We may be breathing in dust mite debris, pollen or mold spores; microscopic pollutants. Garages or workrooms may have left-over particulates from aerosols and even the kitchen can be a major source of noxious fumes from combustion products, cleaners and bacteria.
As the weather gets warmer the increase in temperature and humidity can increase the concentration levels of many of these indoor pollutants. Inadequate cleaning and maintenance can also leave deposits of human and animal skin in the form of dust throughout the home. This material is breathed in and expelled in a constant cycle.
Proper ventilation is important to optimal health. A central heating and air system can be an integral part of the solution or a hidden component of the problem.
An efficient HVAC system can move the air through the home and filter much of the particulates. Proper maintenance of filters and air ducts can help to decrease the amount of indoor air pollution.
Dust, debris and moisture can be trapped in air ducts. Regularly scheduled maintenance can help to avoid any build up in these hidden areas. Improve the indoor air quality and avoid hidden hazards in the home.