Indoor Air Quality

The primary cause of home indoor air quality problems, according to the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality website,  are indoor pollution sources that release harmful gases or particles into the air. Other factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality are inadequate ventilation, and high temperature and humidity. Sources of indoor air pollution include combustion sources, building materials and furnishings, cabinetry or furniture made of pressed wood products, household cleaning and maintenance products, as well as personal care products, and central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices. Outdoor air pollution sources including radon and pesticides can also contribute to poor indoor air quality.

When there is too little outdoor air entering a home, health and comfort problems can arise from pollutants accumulating. Many houses are designed to prevent air from entering the house, which can cause pollutant levels to rise. This can cause immediate effects such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Other immediate effects include symptoms of diseases such as asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever. There are also long term health effects that may occur years after exposure or after long or repeated periods of exposure.  These include respiratory disease, heart disease, and cancer.

One solution to this problem is to install mechanical ventilation devices, such as outdoor-vented fans and also air handling systems. Air handling systems use fans and duct work to remove indoor air and bring in filtered and conditioned outdoor air into the house.  Filters Fast offers an extensive line of air filters to keep the air in your house clean and pure. We also carry many quality air purifiers that circulate and purify indoor air.

Dandruff Improves Indoor Air Pollution

household dustHumans shed their entire layer of skin every 2-4 weeks. Skin flakes contain skin oils – cholesterol and “squalene” – which are major components of household dust. Recent research shows that dust, though often a nuisance and the source of allergies and respiratory problems, may actually be beneficial at reducing indoor air pollution.

It sounds contradictory, but it’s true. Squalene actually reduces ozone levels from 2 to 15 percent.

So… to dust, or not to dust? That is the question. Previous research shows the mere presence of humans in a room can reduce ozone levels. Ozone is a major component of smog, and exposure to it may increase one’s risk of lung irritation, asthma, heart attacks and death. The removal of ozone from indoor spaces seems to be a good thing. However, other studies show that the reaction between skin flakes and squalene produces byproducts which are known to be lung irritants and may be just as or even more harmful to your health.

Until more research is done, we are going to recommend dusting and using an air purifier to remove dust and other allergens from your indoor spaces. Just make sure the air purifier does not emit ozone.

From dust we came, and to dust we shall return…

 

Scented Candles May Cause Indoor Air Pollution

scented candles air pollution

Studies show that scented candles can cause air pollution. We recommend one or more of these alternatives.

Indoor air quality experts at the Oregon Environmental Council say that the chemicals used in scented candles can cause indoor air pollution, potentially causing a wide range of respiratory health effects, including asthma. Companies are not required to disclose the specific chemicals used in scented candles on the labels, and many labels simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient, without revealing any specifics. Some contain “pthalates”, which are used in the production of plastic, and have also been found in bottled water. According to an EPA report on pthalates, these chemicals may cause birth defects and reproductive problems.

Many people will use scented candles or fragrance sprays to mask odors that linger indoors. But there are other alternatives  to these chemical-laden, pollution causing solutions. Spring is in the air, and opening the windows of your home for even just a few minutes a day can improve air circulation, while letting in the natural scent of fresh flowers. Running the fan in your bathroom and turning on the fan inside the hood vent above your stove, during and after cooking will also help. It is important to clean and change your microwave and hood range filters on a regular basis, as these prevent the spread of odor-causing smoke and food particles. We also recommend changing your HVAC furnace filters regularly, and investing in a HEPA air purifier if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Most air purifiers remove odor-carrying particles naturally, without adding chemical-laden fragrance to your home.

If you’re not sensitive to fragrances, and you absolutely can’t do away with your craving for cinnamon or french vanilla, or if it’s too cold to open the window, supplement your air filter with a Fresh Scents Air Filter Freshener in “Fresh Flowers” and other scents. This fragrance gel pad attaches easily to any air filter, providing subtly scented air throughout your home, without the smoke given off by candlewicks.