Comprehensive Guide to Common Indoor Pollutants

indoor air quality ottawa ontario

Did you know that more than 65 million people all over the world live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? This is a serious respiratory disease that can cause severe breathing problems, coughing, and sneezing. It can be caused by smoking as well as being exposed to numerous indoor pollutants.

If you want to prevent this disease, you should stop smoking or being exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke. You can also try to eliminate indoor air pollutants, so you can breathe fresher, cleaner air and increase the quality of your life. Keep reading to find out more about the most common indoor air pollutants in your house.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a common air pollutant and it can be found in a plethora of construction materials. This is a mineral fiber that can resist extreme temperatures and it's usually found in roof shingles, paper products, and floor tiles. It can also be found in packaging and coatings.

Asbestos can become a problem when these materials are cut or sanded. For example, sanding floor tiles can release a lot of asbestos into the indoor air, making it difficult for some people to breathe.

Mold and Mildew

Mold can develop in humid environments and it can be found in commercial, residential, and industrial properties. Mold consists of fungi that travel through the air and can get into your lungs, causing allergies and various respiratory problems. It can develop if you have stagnant water in your house or water infiltration in the ceiling.

Many people find mold in their basements too because the foundation of the house might be cracked and rainwater gets in. Mold and mildew can also damage your furniture items and electronics, so you need to do something right away if you see signs of mold in your house.

Radon

Radon is another common gas usually found in households. It's odorless and invisible, so you cannot detect it by yourself. This gas is produced by the breakdown of uranium and it's naturally found almost everywhere on Earth. However, large amounts of radon can cause lung cancer, so it's important to test the radon levels in your house.

You might be happy to find out that professional teams of experts can come to your house with air quality testing equipment to screen for elevated levels of radon. If the levels are very high, the experts can help you remove it so you and your family are safe.

Second-Hand Smoke

Smoking cigarettes is not healthy for anyone, especially if you do it indoors. A cigarette usually contains more than 7,000 chemicals and at least 69 of them produce cancer. When you smoke, all these bad substances go into your lungs and those around you are also exposed to these toxins.

Keep in mind that the smoke from a cigarette lingers in a house long after the cigarette is put out in an ashtray. Kids and people of an elderly age are the most vulnerable to second-hand smoke and this pollutant can lead to serious respiratory diseases, including lung cancer.

Lead Particles

Lead is another dangerous indoor pollutant. It can be found in many homes that still use lead-based paints. When the paint from the walls is removed intentionally or by accident (by scraping or sanding), lead particles can get into the air and be inhaled by the residents of the building.

Lead is particularly dangerous for kids as they tend to absorb more of it as they grow. This hard metal has been linked to numerous health and behavioral problems, so it's important to do everything you can to minimize your exposure to lead.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are gases emitted by certain types of solids or liquids. These gases are dangerous for your health and they can be released when you use the products that contain them or even you store them.

Some of the sources of VOCs include paints and solvents, cleaning agents and disinfectants, sprays, fuels, pesticides, herbicides, and even hobby supplies. It's important to consult the label of some of these products and check for their VOC content. Storing some of them outdoors can also minimize your exposure to VOCs.

Formaldehydes

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that has a strong odor and can be found in a wide variety of products and household goods. Although it's present in almost every household in small quantities, being exposed to large quantities of formaldehyde can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer.

Some of the items that contain formaldehyde are resins found in wooden products such as MDF and hardwood floors. You can also find this type of gas in construction and insulation materials. Glues, fertilizers, and pesticides also contain formaldehyde. You can limit your exposure to this substance by using fewer products containing formaldehyde and storing them outdoors.

Indoor Particulate Matter

Indoor particulate matter refers to a plethora of small particles and pollutants that can be found suspended in the air. They consist of dust particles, dirt, debris, impurities, allergens, and other types of pollutants. Each house contains a small amount of indoor particulate matter and in large quantities, these particles can cause throat and lung irritation.

A poorly vented household usually contains a lot of indoor particulate matter. Stoves, heaters, chimneys, and fireplaces also release a lot of impurities and particulate matter when they burn gas or other types of fuels.

Now You Know More About the Most Common Indoor Pollutants!

As you can see, there are many indoor pollutants to keep track of if you value your health. But you shouldn't be worried as there are many things you can do to improve indoor air quality. For example, you can ventilate your house more often, use an indoor air purifier, and let the experts eliminate dangerous gases for you.

We specialize in air quality testing, mold inspection, and removal. We use advanced equipment to detect small impurities and give you an accurate assessment of the indoor air quality of your house. Give us a call today and let our experts help you avoid respiratory diseases in the future!