According to the EPA, indoor air measurements in some cases have been found to be 100x more polluted than our outdoor environment! Since majority of Americans spend as much as 90% of the time indoors nowadays, indoor air quality is a serious issue.
Suffering from these health issues?
Researchers have found that childhood diagnoses of allergies, autism, Asperger’s and Tourette’s syndrome are linked to indoor pollutants such as dust, phthalates, PVC flooring and second-hand smoke.
In addition, long-term exposure to indoor pollutants can result in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Also known as multiple allergy syndrome, this heightened immune reaction is on the rise.
Symptoms of MCS include:
- Burning eyes
- Chronic runny nose
- Digestive problems
- Memory problems
- Muscle and joint pain
- Poor concentration
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sinus problems
- Sleep issues
- Sore throat
Check the source(s)
Inadequate ventilation is a primary cause of indoor air pollution and is why pollutants rise in homes during the winter. Newer homes are customarily air-tight and energy efficient. This can have the effect of trapping in dangerous air pollutants.
Other sources include gases from cooking and heating, chemicals from candles and household cleansers, mold and mildew, and a host of toxins from building materials.
Household Products – The average home contains about 10 gallons of synthetic chemical products.
- Indoor use of pesticides, cleansers, paints, varnishes, and air fresheners (including some candles and incense) distribute toxins throughout the home.
- Cleansers contain ethylene-based glycol ethers and terpenes. Ethers are toxic directly and terpenes interact with ozone to create a poisonous compound.
- The foam in your furniture and your carpet backing emits many harmful chemicals continuously. VOCs are the volatile organic chemicals that are found in carpets and the glue that hold them in place. VOCs exist in levels 2 to 5 times higher indoors than out and are linked to cancer as well as heart and lung disease.
- Formaldehyde and PCBs are emitted from many household products such as wire coatings, adhesives, sealants, and wood finishes. It is also found in many permanent-press fabrics. Formaldehyde causes dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea and rashes, and impairs the nervous system.
- Phlatates are an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in many plastics and cosmetics. They are linked to lowered sperm count and breast development in boys and premature sexual development in girls.
- Flame retardants contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers–PBDEs. PBDEs have a variety of negative health effects, and worse, they stockpile in the body. Flame retardants are used in computer and TV casings, circuitry, mattresses, and upholstery. PDBEs are also found in treated plastics and fabrics and are released in dust particles and gases.
- Perfluorinated acids (PFAs) are chemicals that comprise non-stick and stain-resistant coatings in many products. PFAs have been found to cause birth defects, affect the thyroid, and damage the liver in lab animals.
Building Materials – Asbestos still lingers in the insulation, paints and floor tiles of many homes. Formaldehyde is found in pressed wood that is used for shelving and furniture. The largest source of formaldehyde in the home is the resinous glue that holds these wood particles together. PVC also contains dangerous phthalates.
Mold – A serious problem in Florida, mold, mildew and viruses thrive indoors and must be treated.
Radon – Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of the development of lung cancer, contributing to 15,000-21,000 deaths each year.
Cooking and Heating – Poorly ventilated coal, gas, kerosene, oil or wood sources of cooking and heating give off carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and many other chemicals and gases.
Tobacco smoke – Tobacco smoke contains 200 known poisons and 43 compounds proven to cause cancer.
If you are concerned that indoor air pollution might be a problem in your home, rest assured that there are simple, inexpensive, and effective ways to drastically improve the indoor air quality of your home.
We are committed to helping you keep your home safe and comfortable, and your heating and air conditioning systems working efficiently and effectively. Ask us about the benefits of UV Systems, Honeywell filter systems, Laundry Pro, and humidifiers!
Coming next: Part 2: “The Solution for Poor Indoor Air Quality
EPA Air Study
International Agency for Research on Cancer
The World Health Organization
Dr. Axe, “Food Is Medicine”