Six Surprising Indoor Air Pollutants and How to Eliminate Them
Air pollution is an outdoor and indoor concern. In fact, the air inside your home or office may even contain more pollutants than the air outside. The pollutants can get into your home through different sources.
Here are some familiar, but surprising sources of indoor air pollution:
New carpeting, padding, and adhesive may emit potentially harmful gases. Always choose low-VOC carpet and have it unrolled and aired out a few days before installation. Also, stay out of your home during installation and keep it well-ventilated after installation.
2. Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick cookware coatings such as Teflon release toxic fumes when heated above 500 degrees. Use stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans if you need to cook at very high temperatures.
3. Chimney and Furnace Gases
A central HVAC system that has problems such as cracks, dirt, and poor ventilation can cause dangerous gases to collect in your home. Make sure your furnace, chimney and flue are well maintained and inspected annually by an air duct cleaning expert.
4. Dry-Cleaned Clothes
Dry cleaning commonly uses perchloroethylene, a potentially carcinogenic chemical. Freshly dry-cleaned clothes can introduce this chemical into your house. Try washing clothes in a washing machine or by hand. If you dry-clean clothes, make sure to air them in the garage for some days before wearing them.
5. Air Fresheners
Exposure to air fresheners may cause headaches and breathing difficulties especially for people with asthma. Some air fresheners also contain phthalates, a chemical that has been linked to developmental and hormonal problems in kids. Instead of air fresheners, use proper ventilation and natural herbs to freshen your air.
Pressed-wood furniture and permanently pressed clothes and drapes often release formaldehyde fumes. The fumes may cause respiratory irritation. Air out your new furniture and wash your drapes before you put them indoors.
Source control, ventilation improvements, and using air cleaners are the primary ways of improving indoor air quality. Eliminate particular sources of air pollution or to at least reduce their emissions. You can also lower the concentrations of indoor air pollutants by increasing the amount of outdoor air flowing into your house and by collecting pollutants from indoor air using an effective air cleaner.