In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air — even in the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, health risks from exposure to indoor air pollution may be greater than risks from outdoor pollution.

Problems concerning indoor air quality may arise from a number of different sources or a combination of them. The following list is the most common sources of indoor air pollution that can occur in any home:

  • moisture and biological pollutants, such as mold colonies, fungus, dust mites, household pet dander, and cockroaches;
  • high humidity levels, inadequate ventilation, and poorly maintained humidifiers, heating systems, and air conditioners;
  • combustion products, including carbon monoxide, from gas-fueled space heaters, gas-fueled furnaces, charcoal grills,
  • gas-fueled ranges, portable kerosene heaters, and wood stoves;
  • formaldehyde from durable-press draperies and other textiles, particleboard products, such as cabinets and furniture framing, and adhesives;
  • radon, which is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas from the soil and rock beneath and around the home’s foundation, groundwater wells, and some building materials;
  • ingredients in household products and furnishings, such as paints, wax, mothballs, air fresheners, craft supplies, dry-cleaned clothing, personal care products, aerosol sprays, adhesives, and fabric additives used in carpeting and furniture, which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
  • indoor ozone from certain photocopiers, electric motors, and air purifiers, laundry water treatment appliances, facial steamers, and automated vegetable washers. It also originates from outdoors and migrates indoors;
  • accumulation of pesticides in the soil around houses and under numerous orchards that have been turned into subdivisions as cities expand;
  • asbestos, which is a mineral fiber found in most homes built between 1930 and 1950. Sources include deteriorating, damaged and disturbed pipe insulation, fire retardant, acoustical material (such as ceiling tiles) and floor tiles;
  • lead from lead-based paint dust, which is created when removing paint by sanding, scraping, and burning;
  • particulate matter from dust and pollen, fireplaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, and unvented gas space heaters; and
  • secondhand smoke/environmental tobacco smoke, which produces particulates, combustion products, and formaldehyde.

Whether you live in an apartment, townhome or single-family home, an old home, or are building a new home, there is a potential for exposure to indoor air pollution through any of the sources mentioned above.

Contact an IAC2 Certified Consultant to learn about how to improve your indoor aid quality to protect yourself and your family from problems related to an unhealthy indoor environment.