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Common Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Pollutants

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Published on Nov 3, 2013

In today's world, most people spend the majority of their time indoors. Whether at home, school or at the office, some experts estimate many of us are indoors up to 90% of the time.

This makes the quality of the air we breathe indoors all that much important. In many homes and buildings, there are numerous potential pollutants that can cause health concerns or even result in various illnesses. They include the following:

Mold -- In buildings that have suffered water damage or elevated humidity levels, mold can begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours. Mold can cause respiratory issues, allergies, infections, trigger asthma in some people and expose people to mycotoxins.

Bacteria -- Many types of bacteria can be found on surfaces and even at times in the air we breathe. From Legionella, to a growing number of drug-resistant superbugs, such as MRSA and C. diff, many pose potential health hazards.

Allergens -- Everything from pollen and mold spores to latex and dust mite allergens are frequent contributors to indoor air quality issues.

Radon -- In many parts of the country, radon can be found and is a potential invisible threat. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is odorless, colorless and tasteless.

Formaldehyde and other VOCs -- Many building materials, furnishing and products used indoors emit formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds, commonly referred to as VOCs. VOCs can be emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.

Asbestos - Asbestos is a type of mineral fiber that was added to many building products in the past to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause various types of lung cancer, sometimes decades after exposure.

Lead -- Many buildings built before 1978 contain lead-based paints. As these materials age and degrade, or during renovation, remodeling and demolition activities, they can become airborne and settle on surfaces which could put building occupants at risk for lead poisoning.

These are just a few things to know about some of the more common indoor air quality pollutants, to learn more about these or other indoor air quality, health and safety, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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