There is so much focus on outdoor quality that the quality of the air indoors doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. The fact is that there are times when the indoor air pollution can become more of a health risk than what is outside. The examples of indoor air pollution are dust or dust mites, that you know are flying through the air. Think about how each of those go into your lungs as you breathe. You must take action to remove those substances out of the air.
10 examples of indoor air pollution
Indoor air pollution is anything in the air that can cause respiratory issues. Long-term exposure to indoor air pollutants can cause chronic health issues. It is very important to eliminate the following air pollutants as soon as possible:
1. Tobacco smoke can cause a lot of residue in the air and this can be just as harmful to the lungs as smoking a cigarette.
2. Pollen may seem like something that stays outdoors, but it can make its way indoors through cracks around windows and doors. Pollen can be a nightmare for someone who reacts to it easily.
3. Mold is toxic and that means it needs to be eradicated or it can do such things as cause respiratory issues and other serious health problems.
4. Smoke and other contaminants from stoves, heaters, fireplaces and chimneys can seriously affect home air quality.
5. Household products, such as those that contain methylene chloride, benzene and perchloroethylene need to be disposed of properly.
6. Pet dander is what people who are allergic to cats and dogs are actually allergic to. Pet dander in large concentrations can more or less affect anyone.
7. Dust and dust mites are also common indoor air pollutants. You want to eliminate them through and regular cleaning with environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.
8. Bacteria and germs are everywhere and they are floating through the air, so you want to get rid of them through proper air filtration.
9. Chemicals that are more common than you think, such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene and ammonia. All of these are cancer causing chemicals that must be taken out of the air.
10. Other pollutants: carpet fibers and pesticides if you have used any sort of pest control in your home.
When looking over this list, it is amazing how many things are floating through the air in your home that you can’t see.
What diseases can be caused by polluted air?
Poor home air quality can result in a number of diseases in both humans and pets. The following are those diseases and their symptoms:
• Infections. Sinus infections that won’t go away can be an indicator of bad indoor air. The symptoms include headaches, runny nose, sinus drainage that causes a cough, fever and fatigue.
• Lung cancer. You may have a slight cough and fatigue. Some individuals develop lung cancer so seriously that they may cough up blood or develop pneumonia.
• Chronic lung disease. Asthma is an example of chronic lung disease that involves shortness of breath and frequent lung-based illnesses.
The American Lung Association and other medical associations around the world warn that poor interior air quality, indoor air pollution can lead to lung diseases, as well as headaches, nausea and dry eyes.
10 ways to improve air quality
There are different ways in which you can improve quality of the air inside your home. But really, what is air quality anyway?
Well, air quality, as you have probably already guessed by now is the cleanliness of the air that you breathe. If you reduce the number of contaminants in the air, then it is safer for you to breathe.
If you don’t reduce the number of contaminants, then the air quality can be poor and that means it is not safe to breathe.
The following are the best 10 ways to improve indoor air quality:
» Proper air circulation, ventilation
You want to ensure that your home is properly ventilated so air can circulate accordingly. Also make sure that exhaust fans over stoves work and that your heating system and stove is regularly inspected for damage.
If you use a fireplace, make sure it is properly cleaned on a regular schedule to keep contaminants at a minimum.
Opening a window when the weather is nice can be a great way to ventilate, but be sure to implement some of the methods you will read about below so you can ensure the air is clean.
» Houseplants – natural air purifying
Believe it or not, houseplants can be a natural air purifier for your home. The following are some houseplants that are highly effective in clearing the air.
• Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens).
Removes formaldehyde. Areca palm is effective as an electric humidifier.
• Boston fern
(Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’).
Very effective at removing formaldehyde and is believed to be able to remove the most per hour when compared to other plants that do the same.
• Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata).
Not as sensitive to low humidity as the Boston fern, this plant removes formaldehyde and alcohols from the air.
• Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum).
Removes carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
• Devil’s ivy money plant (Epipremnum aureum).
Removes benzene, xylene, toluene and formaldehyde.
• Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’).
The Peace Lily contributes to cleaning the air and is good for a person who may not necessarily have a green thumb because of its hardy nature.
• Broadleaf lady palm (Rhapis excelsa).
Removes formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and ammonia from the air.
• Variegated snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’).
Great for eliminating a majority of the toxins in the air and they love to grow in places where other plants may not thrive.
• Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum).
This is a common plant in homes, as it removes formaldehyde from the air. It looks great and is relatively easy to take care of.
• Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata).
This plant is like the “catch all” for harmful substances in the air. It can filter out benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. It’s a great tool for preventing the cancers that can be caused by these chemicals.
• Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina).
This plant takes care of the formaldehyde, xylene and toluene that may be in the air.
• Florist’s chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium).
Benzene is a VOC compound and this plant has shown to be effective in removing the cancer causing substance.
Which houseplant would be the least helpful in reducing indoor pollution?
While helpful, the chrysanthemum remove the least number of toxins from the air, but it is an attractive plant that will still benefit your home.
» Air cleaning by using of air cleaners/purifiers
Air purifiers are popular and some have an air quality monitor that lets you know what the air is looking like. Some even kick on when they sense that the air is becoming more contaminated. You have those with HEPA filters, those with carbon filters and ionizers. To choose the right one, understand the symptoms you may be experiencing and what the sources of indoor air pollution may be so you can choose an air purifier that addresses that problem.
» Keep the house clean
Since dust, dander, dust mites and pollen are common contaminants. You can work toward keeping indoor air pollution at bay by cleaning with all natural cleaning products to eliminate pollutions. You also want to make sure there is nothing in the home that facilities mold and mildew growth, such as moist areas.
» Don’t smoke at home
One of the examples of indoor air pollution is cigarette smoke. Is toxic so it is best to keep it out of the indoor air. While it is best to smoke indoors, there are air purifiers to eliminate cigarette smoke and its toxins from the air. Even if everyone inside a home smokes, the secondhand nature of what’s in the air should be cleared away.
Read also: Best Air Purifier for Cigar Smoke
» Maintain proper air humidity level with air dehumidifier
An air dehumidifier pulls unnecessary moisture out of the air, preventing mold and mildew growth. When you prevent this growth, you keep these harmful substances out of the air. On the other hand, an air humidifier can help you keep the right amount of moisture in the air. When air is too dry can also have its ill health effects, such as dry and scratchy throat, dry eyes and dry skin.
Wanna learn how to breath clean air? Check out: Best HEPA Air Purifier for Mold
» Regularly check ventilation ducts
Air duct cleaning is very important as is air conditioning fumigation. It is best to have a professional clean your aid ducts and fumigate your air conditioning on a regular schedule. This will ensure contaminants that have accumulated within these important systems don’t find their way into the air of your home.
» Use air fresheners
Air fresheners can make the home smell nice, but sometimes that is only for a short while. Floral scents can be nice and have some staying power, but cinnamon tends to hang around for quite some time. However, commercial air fresheners contains chemicals, so there are some other options out there. Essential oils with diffusers placed inside them or a few drops of essential oils in a spray bottle can make the air sound nice.
» Get rid of odors
Items such as shoes and dirty clothes can be quite smelly. Keep them in the appropriate containers, such as clothes hampers with lids. If shoes are smelly, it may be best to keep them outside or wash them when appropriate.
If the family dog needs a bath, don’t do it in the bath tub that everyone uses. Go outside and use an appropriately sized container and a water hose with a nozzle. If it is cold outside, then a garage or other heated area is perfect so that the dog odors do not travel through the home.
» Use only natural candles and avoid cleaning chemicals
If you have access to beeswax or soy and candle making supplies, you can make your own. If you don’t have time, many of the hobby shops and stores that sell candles are starting to sell the organic brands. You can’t find any locally, there are many organic candle stores online.
You also want to avoid harsh cleaning chemicals. Fortunately, there are many out there today that use all natural ingredients. You can also use vinegar, which is a great cleaning tool and a way to combat smells.
How to monitor indoor air pollution and quality?
Lastly, you need to be able to effectively monitor the indoor air pollution and quality. Outside of air purifiers that perform indoor air quality testing, it can pay to have a monitor mounted in your home. For instance, CubeSensor monitors indoor air pollution and will alert you when something is “off.” You can then login to the accompanying smartphone app to see what the alert is about and how you can fix the problem.
Another is Alima, which detects over 30 different types of VOCs. There’s not much to know about how to measure air quality with this one because it does a lot of the work and changes colors when something is wrong. Just like with CubeSensor, you log into an app to see the recommendations.
Now you know examples of indoor air pollution and how to improve air quality in your home. It’s amazing how many diseases you can prevent just by keeping the air you breathe as clean as possible.
Remember, by improving air quality you improve the quality of your life.