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What Makes Our Air Poor?

Indoor Air Quality is a subject that comes up a lot lately, mainly in the form of how it can be improved.  Yet, what about the original question?  That being, what is wrong with the air inside of our homes in the first place?  I decided to do some research on this question and through the Environmental Protection Agency I found some of the causes of poor indoor air quality.

According to the EPA there are couple of different categories of in-home pollutants.  These are:

Combustion Sources

Some examples of these could be tobacco products such as cigars or cigarettes as well as wood, oil, kerosene or coal.

Cleaning Chemicals

According to the American Lung Association some cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals include:

  • Aerosol spray products, including health, beauty and cleaning products;
  • Air fresheners;
  • Chlorine bleach;
  • Detergent and dishwashing liquid;
  • Dry cleaning chemicals;
  • Rug and upholstery cleaners;
  • Furniture and floor polish; and
  • Oven cleaners.

Outside Sources

Building Materials and Furnishings

This could be damp carpet, asbestos or even according to the EPA, certain types of pressed wood could also be an issue.

Heating and Cooling  Sources

Depending on the condition and age of these appliances, they could emit dangerous gasses like carbon monoxide.

Now that you know what some of the key sources of indoor air pollution air to look out for are, you can begin to work on cleaning up the air.  First, whenever you use heavy duty cleaning products or burn a fire in the fireplace, be sure to open up the chimney flue or a few windows.  Ventilation is key.  Also, the American Lung Association suggests more “at home” cleaning products such as baking soda, vinegar and warm water and soap for different cleaning needs (see below to check out their site for more information).  Second, you can begin to think about appliances that can help with indoor air quality.  These could include humidifiers or air purifiers.

Interested in learning more?  Check out the EPA’s article “An Introduction to IAQ” or The American Lung Association’s Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals.

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