What’s In the Air You Breathe in Your Home?

Open windows with potted plants on the sill to improve air qualityAir quality has more to do with our quality of life than we realize. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that indoor air quality is usually two to five times, and sometimes as high as 100 times, more polluted than outdoor air. Even worse, researchers say that up to 80 percent of all cancers result from environmental factors, including exposure to dangerous chemicals in your home. Here are some of the most common pollutants that can be found in your home.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are drawn to moist locations, such as bathrooms, kitchens, window sills, basements, or even in your heating and air conditioning system. Mold and mildew are responsible for many cases of respiratory problems, allergic reaction symptoms, depression, and nervous-system disorders. Unfortunately, most of the toxic mold that’s in your home is invisible, but it’s still just as dangerous. Sometimes, you can identify it by its musty smell.

Household Chemicals

Many common household products contain a chemical cocktail of carcinogenic substances. Cleaners, candles, air fresheners, pesticides, paints, and varnishes all emit harmful toxins. It’s said that “the average home contains about 10 gallons of synthetic chemical products”. Almost everything in your home contains dangerous chemicals—upholstery, mattresses, carpets, wood furniture and floors, floor tiles, and more. Asbestos and formaldehyde lurk in some of the most harmless-looking furnishings and fixtures.

Tobacco Smoke

Everyone is aware that tobacco smoke is harmful to your health, but not everyone knows the extent of it. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco smoke causes around six million deaths every year—up to half of tobacco users. Over five million of these deaths are direct users and over 600,000 are simply those who inhaled second-hand smoke. Tobacco smoke contains over 50 chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer.

Cooking and Heating

Did you know that your beautiful wood stove or fireplace could be releasing harmful carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide gas, and particulate matter? Gas, kerosene, or wood-operated heaters and cooking stoves all release carbon monoxide. It’s important to have proper ventilation if you own any of these items.

Clean, fresh air is essential for both physical and mental health. Spend time outside or open your windows when you’re inside to help create an ecosystem of cleaner air. And be sure to ask your heating and air conditioning technician about ventilation systems that can effectively remove the toxins from your indoor air.