Is a Clean House Bad for Your Health?
Keeping air pollution out of your home is not just a matter of cleanliness. Just think about it. You could scrub your floors and countertops, light a perfumed candle – even add a new coat of paint and new carpeting – and while the look will improve, your indoor air could actually be even more compromised.
Household cleaners, perfumes, paint, new carpeting, some types of furniture … any of these can contain chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs) that enter your air and, as a result, could soon enter your family’s respiratory system, causing a problem with the air you’re breathing. With airtight construction prodded by energy-efficient building practices over the last few decades, homes are less likely to exchange air as quickly – meaning the natural ventilation from times of old now no longer allows for the routine exchange of air between inside and outside. That means what’s inside your home stays inside your home, including the pollutants that collect over time. What’s more, because Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, these pollutants are potentially reaching right into your family’s breathing passages.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are several common pollutants found in homes these days. They include:
- Combustion Pollutants – Gases or particles that come from burning materials, major residential sources of combustion pollutants are improperly vented or unvented fuel-burning appliances such as space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces. Common combustion pollutants include carbon monoxide (CO) which is a colorless, odorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Carbon monoxide causes headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and even death. Additionally, nitrogen dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that causes eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath and an increased risk of respiratory infection.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – These are chemicals found in paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, varnishes and waxes, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, moth repellents, air fresheners and dry-cleaned clothing. VOCs evaporate into the air when these products are used or sometimes even when they are stored. VOCs irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and cause headaches, nausea and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Some of them can cause cancer.
- Asthma Triggers – These include mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke and pet dander. Asthma triggers cause symptoms including coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and breathing problems. Molds produce spores that float in the air, land on damp surfaces and grow.Inhaling or touching molds can cause hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes. Molds can also trigger asthma attacks.
For peace of mind on any of these pollutants, contact Action Air today for an Indoor Air Consultation in your Indianapolis or Anderson area home.
This article was written by Action Air