Did you know that the EPA ranks indoor air pollution as a Top 5 Environmental Danger?
The Environmental Protection Agency consistently ranks indoor air pollution as one of the most concerning environmental dangers we face daily. Why? Because sources of pollution are everywhere in your home. The EPA also estimates that indoor air contains 5x more pollutants than outdoor air does.
The studies that the EPA has conducted prove that no matter where your home is located, indoor air pollution can be a problem.
Some of the most commonly discovered sources of indoor air pollution are:
- Combustion sources
- Building materials
- Chemical products
- Organic matter
- Pollution which outdoor air pollution which makes its way indoors.
In fact, indoor air pollution has gotten so bad that pediatric asthma rates have jumped to 72%. Currently, asthma ranks as one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States and the leading serious chronic illness among children.
Sadly, numerous indoor air pollutants have been directly tied to causing or increasing the risk of asthma developing in children.
Scary right? Here are 4 obvious and not so obvious things that can affect your indoor air quality:
1. Secondhand Smoke
One of the most obvious culprits of indoor air pollution is secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is considered one of the worst indoor air pollutants. Secondhand smoke contains more than 200 different types of poisons, including formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. It also includes at least 60 chemicals known to cause cancer.
Secondhand smoke not only affects your health, but it can also severely affect infants, increasing their risk of pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, ear infections, and spur the development of asthma.
2. Harmful Chemicals
Did you know that some of your daily habits can dramatically deteriorate indoor air quality? Hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals are admitted or released by household cleaning agents, personal care products, paint, and solvents. SAY WHAT?! These chemicals have been known to cause dizziness, allergic reactions, skin irritation, cancer, and nausea.
Keep a close eye on the products you use on a daily basis. You’ll also want to consider the potential effects they can have on the air you breathe.
Don’t you just love lighting a candle and curling up with a good book? Sorry to dampen your spirits, but studies show that certain candles may emit numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and toluene. These deadly contaminates can damage the brain, your lungs, and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental difficulties.
Researchers at South Carolina State University tested both petroleum-based paraffin wax candles and vegetable-based candles that were non-scented, non-pigmented and free of dyes. Their 2009 report concluded that while the vegetable-based candles didn’t produce any potentially harmful pollutants, but unfortunately, paraffin candles “released unwanted chemicals into the air,” said chemistry professor Ruhullah Massoudi in a statement.
Though the risk to you may be small, there are alternatives. One researcher suggested going the unscented route, avoiding “even those with essential oils, as they can potentially have hazardous chemicals,” she said. “It’s almost like air fresheners with the fragrance just sitting there … permeating surfaces in the room.”
4. Outdoor Air
We’ve established that there are numerous pollutants that are only released indoors, but outdoor air can find its way inside as well! The EPA found that indoor air pollution can be anywhere from 2 to 5 times more polluted than the worst outside air. Some homes have even reported having air that is 100x more polluted than the worst outside air!
We’ve all heard about how bad outdoor air pollution is and we can usually recognize the health concerns associated with outdoor air pollution, but one thing that is often overlooked is indoor pollution too!
So what can you do?
While what you choose to do is ultimately up to you, here are a couple things you can do to help improve your indoor air quality:
- Change your air filters regularly. Air filters should be changed every 60-90 days. This amount of time can vary depending on what Merv rating you have chosen and the characteristics of your home. Here’s a helpful guide to help you figure it out.
- Invest in an air purifier. At FiltersFast.com we carry a wide variety of air purifiers, so you are sure to find one that fits your budget and needs. Shop our selection by clicking here.
By purifying the air you breathe in your home, you will be creating a more favorable environment for your kids and your health.