What Makes My Home Unhealthy?

What Makes My Home Unhealthy?
What Makes My Home Unhealthy?

There is an old adage that states, “You are what you eat”, but you could just as easily say “You are what you breathe.” The health effects of indoor air pollution may be experienced soon after exposure, or may be felt years later.

Symptoms and health effects of exposure to indoor air pollutants range from mild short-term acute effects such as sneezing, itchy eyes and general discomfort, to more serious long-term effects such as respiratory disorders and even lung cancer. Short-term high exposure to some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide can even cause death. People react differently to different types and levels of pollutants. Some people are very tolerant and may not experience any symptoms; others are more sensitive and may become sick after exposure to unhealthy indoor air.

Air pollutants and their sources are numerous. The most common indoor pollutants are radon gas, mold, nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compound (VOCs). Some pollutants are not generated inside the home, but are “imported” by people, pets and products brought into the home. Once imported into the home, they are re-circulated over and over because there is no ventilation capability within the typically HVAC system.

The Culprits
Common Types of Indoor Pollution
» Radon Gas
» Mold Spores
» Carbon Monoxide Gas
» Formaldehyde
» VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
» Nitrogen Oxide
» Bacteria
» Dust Mites
» Pet Dander
» Pollens
» Pesticides
For more detailed information about these and other indoor air pollutants, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s online feature “The Inside Story: A guide to Indoor Air Quality” at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html