While most people are aware of the most common indoor air pollutants like mold, dust and pet dander, there are other indoor air pollutants that are far more dangerous and insidious. These pollutants can be difficult to detect and can create horrible health issues for those affected by them. We will take a look at the four most dangerous indoor air pollutants and how to test for them to keep you and your families safe.
We will start with cigarette smoke because it’s one of the easiest indoor air pollutants to remedy. All you have to do is stop smoking in your house, and stop allowing anyone else to smoke in the house either. Cigarette smoke literally contains thousands of poisons, and not just for the people holding the filter. These toxins can soak into any and all porous materials in the home, which can be difficult to remove. The smell and residue left behind can be found years later, even after many deep cleaning attempts so the faster you can stop introducing cigarette smoke to your environment, the better.
If your home was built prior to 1978, chances are good that there may be some lead present. Lead was widely used in paint and water pipes before it was known to be so dangerous for humans. Since then, there have been huge advances made in the safe removal of lead from these substances in homes. If it’s been a long time since any remodeling or renovation has been done in your home, you may want to call an expert before you start any type of removal process. Lead can also be brought into the home from carrying lead contaminated soil on the bottoms of your shoes. It’s a good idea to remove your shoes upon immediately entering the home and vacuum regularly to keep this exposure as low as possible.
This indoor air pollutant is especially dangerous because it is both odorless and tasteless. Carbon monoxide can leak from appliances like stoves and clothes dryers, from wood burning fireplaces that aren’t properly vented, and can even creep into the home from car exhaust in a connected garage. Some of the common symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure are headaches, fatigue, nausea, disorientation, blurred vision, stress and anxiety. If left too long, it can lead to paralysis and death. Luckily, carbon monoxide detectors are very inexpensive and can be found at most hardware stores. They are a cheap insurance policy for keeping your family safe and sound.
Radon is another indoor air pollutant that is so dangerous because of its lack of smell or visual cues. It is also thought to be the second-most cause of lung cancer. Radon is a byproduct of uranium breaking down in soil, and it can be found everywhere. This odorless gas creeps into cracks in a home’s foundation or through basement walls, and levels can be incredibly high without any signs or symptoms. The good news is that testing is now relatively inexpensive and easy to do, and it is recommended that every home’s ground-floor level should be tested as a precaution.
While these four most dangerous indoor air pollutants cannot be entirely fixed by having good air filtration in your home, it certainly doesn’t hurt. A good air purifier will remove those more common pollutants like mold, dust mites and pet dander, as well as the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are given off by some of the products we use every day. Air purifiers work to keep fresh air moving throughout your home, lessening your chances of becoming sick due to poor air quality.