Most people think of their homes as a safe haven, a place where they are protected from pollutants and toxins. Unfortunately, that may not be true. Our homes are a host of unseen, airborne pollutants that can be a health hazard. According to World Health Organization, almost 40% of homes pose a serious health danger to the dwellers. The EPA says that indoor air pollution is of or major problems in America when it comes to health.
So what are the common indoor air pollutants? Most of the pollutants come with modern living. In this article, we are going to look at 7 of the most common indoor air pollutants, the risks and mitigation measures.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide rated as one of the most dangerous gases to human. It is an odorless, invisible gas which is a product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.
Risk: CO inhaled thus reducing the amount of oxygen in the body. If the concentration of CO in is not too high, you may experience tiredness, headaches, nausea or a fast heart rate. But if the concentration is too high, it can cause death.
Mitigation: Have your heating systems checked regularly by a professional. You MUST also ensure that combustion appliances such heaters have been correctly installed. AVOID using a gas stove to heat your house.
- Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
Nitrogen dioxide is a common oxide of nitrogen that is toxic and corrosive. However, it should not be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O). The gas is most common at the site of a burning building.
Risk: Nitrogen dioxide irritates the eyes, nose, throat and the respiratory tract. The gas causes breathing conditions such as pulmonary edema, asthma, or chronic bronchitis.
Mitigation measures: Correct installation of combustion appliance and proper ventilation.
Randon is natural gas found everywhere in low levels. It is odorless, colorless gas that is made naturally when uranium in the earth breaks down:
Risk: Exposure to the gas increases lung cancer.
Mitigation measures: Screen your home for radon with special radon screening kit. If an elevated level of radon is detected, high a qualified professional to remove it.
- Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke or the environmental tobacco smoke is another ignored air pollutant but highly pollutant. According to EPA, environmental tobacco smoke contains more than 4,700 harmful chemical ingredients.
Risk: Eye, nose, and throat irritation are the short-term risks. Long-term exposure can cause pneumonia and lung cancer amongst other breathing conditions. It can also trigger asthma attacks.
Mitigation measures: Avoid smoking tobacco inside your home.
These are types of fungi that grows both indoors and outdoors. Some are harmless, while other types can be dangerous.
Risks: Molds can cause swelling, headache, fever, and trouble breathing. They can also trigger asthmatic attacks.
Mitigation measures: Keep moisture and humidity levels in check by fixing leaks and spills. These are the major conditions that promote the growth of mold.
This is a group of minerals found naturally on earth. They are hazardous in their intact form but can be airborne when disturbed.
Risks: Long-term exposure to asbestos can lead lung disorders such as asbestosis and lung cancer.
Mitigation: Keep asbestos products in your home in good condition. However, if you have to remove asbestos products, then hire a trained professional to do the work.
- Lead particles
Lead is a toxic metal that was widely used in the making housing paint sometimes back but burned in 1978. Its particles can be airborne, and that is the reason it could be a dangerous indoor air pollutant.
Risk: Exposure to lead can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, red blood cells and nervous system. For children, it can cause lower IQ levels, retarded growth, and short attention spans.
Mitigation: if your house was painted before 1978, keep the play areas clean and mop the floors frequently. Keep the kids away from the peeled paints and have their toys cleaned often.
Now you know that your home may not be the safe haven as you thought you want to make sure that your home or business is free of airborne pollutants.
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