A person’s home is their sanctuary and regardless of whether it’s mansion or an average-sized single family home, condo, duplex or apartment, it should provide a healthy indoor environment for everyone who lives there. Unfortunately, many homes have indoor pollutants that could cause health concerns or aggravate medical conditions that people already have. These pollutants could be coming from chemicals, gases, microorganisms and other living things as well as from additional sources.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA), “Some pollutants cause health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches, or fatigue. Other pollutants cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses (such as asthma), heart disease, cancer, and other serious long-term conditions. Sometimes individual pollutants at high concentrations, such as carbon monoxide, cause death.”
There are a number of common indoor pollutants that people should be aware so that they can minimize exposure risks. They include the following:
• Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, are chemicals found in some household products, building materials and furnishings. VOCs evaporate into the air by off-gassing from materials, when the products containing them are used or sometimes even when these products are stored.
• Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed in the soil and can enter indoors through cracks and openings in floors and walls that are in contact with the ground. It is considered to be a leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers.
• Secondhand smoke comes from burning tobacco products and can cause cancer and serious respiratory illnesses.
• Combustion pollutants are gases or particles that come from burning materials. In homes, the major source of combustion pollutants are improperly vented or unvented fuel-burning appliances such as space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers, and fireplaces. Common combustion pollutants include carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
• Lead-based paints are still a problem in many older properties and as these paints age and deteriorate or are disturbed they can release dusts contaminated with lead into the air.
• Asbestos is another potential issue as it was used in the past in many common building materials. It too can become airborne as it ages or is disturbed.
• Mold thrives in conditions with high humidity or due to water damage. In fact, mold can begin to grow in as short as 48 hours on many materials when conditions are suitable.
• Additional common indoor allergens can come from dust mites, pet dander, pollen, cockroaches and rodents.
These are just a few common indoor pollutants that may be found in homes that could cause health concerns for people living there. To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, health and safety, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown on the screen.
Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. http://www.iecinc.net
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net
Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters http://HudsonDouglasPublicAdjusters.com