Common Indoor Pollutants and their Health Effects
Indoor air quality is important because we spend most of our time indoors. More importantly, poor home air quality can cause harm to you and your family if left untreated. Poor air quality is caused by harmful particles that are mixed in the air. These particles can easily affect our body especially with prolonged exposure. Pollutants differ depending on your area and climate. The American Lung Association recognizes 6 common indoor pollutants and how they can affect ones health.
Mold, bacteria, and other allergens – these kinds of pollutants may come from pets, poor indoor ventilation, moisture, and from outdoors. They can cause instant allergic reactions and irritations; and prolonged exposure may result to some serious health problems like heart and respiratory diseases. Mold, for example, releases spores that can get into the lungs and cause irritation. Research shows that molds may even grow in the lungs and cause health problems like asthma.
Tobacco smoke – tobacco smoke contains hundreds of known harmful chemicals that cause cancer. Both smokers and non-smokers are at risk of developing irritation, lung diseases, cancer, and other health problems when they inhale cigarette smoke.
Carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – these are the most common combustion pollutants that are detrimental to your health. They come from gas stoves, fireplaces, heaters, water heaters, oil, coal, and wood. CO interferes with the natural transportation of oxygen to the blood supply. When this happens it causes nausea, fatigue, headache, and other symptoms. NO2 causes eyes, nose, and throat irritation. It can lead to shortness of breath and increases the development of infections.
Radon – is a natural radioactive gas that can easily get into your home from cracks and other openings. Chronic exposure to radon is found to cause lung cancer, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic intestinal pneumonia, and respiratory lesions. You can detect radon in your home by calling a professional or using an air quality home test kit which is helpful in planning the necessary repairs in your household.
Formaldehyde – this chemical is used in many household products, such as adhesives and bonding agents, upholstery, plywood panelling, and wood furniture like tables and cabinets. Over time, these products emit the formaldehyde gas that causes contamination in indoor air quality. Inhalation of indoor air contaminated with formaldehyde can cause eyes, nose, and throat irritation; skin rashes; and headaches. Prolonged or chronic exposure to the chemical can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, lung disease, and cancer.
Asbestos – is a mineral that produces particles that when inhaled causes scarring of the lung tissues (asbestosis). It can also lead to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos can contaminate your home because it is used in roofing and flooring materials, ceiling insulation, pipes, walls, and many more. Consult a professional to fix an asbestos problem if you find that your home is contaminated.
It is important to check your home air quality to ensure that your family is safe at all times. TestCountry.com offers several air quality home test kits that can easily detect the presence of the 6 common pollutants mentioned above.