by: Julian Hurley
About 90% of our time is spent indoors. Yet, one of the most underlooked environmental problems faced today is indoor pollution. Indoor pollution are substances that contaminate the close surrounding and interior of a place. Though some indoor pollution typically does not have any immediate noticeable health effects, the real danger lies in the long-term health deterioration. Not to mention the high financial cost that follows these effects. Indoor pollution could include several culprits. Below are 5 top problems that contribute to indoor pollution along with solutions to reduce or eliminate the mentioned problems.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that occur from a natural breakdown of uranium. Which can be found in certain rocks and soil. Radon can permeate through building cracks in the floors, walls, and other openings. This gas takes a considerable amount of time to cause health problems but, it should be taken lightly. Radon causes at least 21,000 lung cancer deaths.
Since there are no visible signs to radon it is recommended that buildings and houses should be tested for radon. For more information on radon, and radon testing click here.
2. Second Hand Smoke & Formaldehydes
Second Hand Smoke accounts for 3,000 lung cancer deaths, and up to 50,000 heart disease deaths per year. Also second hand smoke has formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical that can be found in different types of bonding agents used in households, offices, and other buildings.
One of the best ways to reduce these dangers are by increasing ventilation, using air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. By doing so would maintain the temperature and humidity, preventing the formaldehyde to becoming a greater danger. In addition, use “exterior-grade” pressed wood products. Using exterior-grade emits formaldehydes lower than interior-grade.
3. Biological Pollutants
Biological pollutants are dust mites, animal dander, pollen, molds, viruses, bacteria, molds, and even cockroaches. Yes, cockroaches! Most of these pollutants trigger asthma attacks, and/or allergic reactions.
To reduce biological pollutants it is best to maintain a clean and tidy home. As well as controlling the moisture that is found within the home.
4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that are commonly found in household cleaning products, paints, waxes, and aerosol products. Many of these products contain Trichlorethylene. This chemical has been linked to childhood leukemia. Also there are other chemicals within the VOC’s that are very dangerous to pregnant women. Certain chemicals could cause birth defects, slow baby growth, and neurologic problems.
If possible try to avoid products that contain VOC’s. Particularly products that contain benzene, methylene chloride, and perchloroethylene. If you have any products that contain these chemicals read the directions carefully. When using the products make sure that the area is well ventilated and away from children and animals. Discard any old, or used chemicals carefully.
Asbestos is a chemical compound that is strong, flexible, heat and corrosion resistant. It is a compound that was commonly found in consumer products before the 1970’s. Asbestos was used in flooring, insulation, plumbing, paints, roofing, and siding. This chemical compound has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. As well asbestos can cause pregnancy complications, and childhood health problems.
If you believe that your home contains asbestos, don’t panic. Look at the suspected product and determine if the product is in good or bad condition. If it is in good condition, there is a less chance of asbestos exposure. However, if the product is in bad condition it is recommended that you should consult with a trained professional. For more information on asbestos click here.
If you would like to learn more ways to make your home more environmentally sustainable, safe, and comfortable click here to learn more about WMEAC’s partners and programs.