When you think of air pollution, your mind probably jumps to the smog and pollution found outside in big cities. However, it may come as a surprise that the air in your Lakewood Ranch, Florida, home may be more polluted than any air you will breathe outdoors. What’s even more surprising to many is where the pollution is coming from — it could be from things you are bringing into the home without realizing it. These common causes of indoor pollution should be banished from your house for good!
If you smell odors in your home, your first instinct might be to light a candle to replace the scent with a better one. Although candles can create a pleasant atmosphere and ambiance, they can also release harmful gases and sediments that lower the quality of the air. Paraffin is especially concerning since it’s typically whitened in bleach that brings a number of dioxins to your air. Acrolein is another chemical commonly added to candle wax to solidify it, but it’s been linked to the same risks of lung cancer as cigarette smoke.
Even candles made from beeswax, soy, and vegetable oil can release harmful gases into the air, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs. Some of these include toluene and benzene, which are known carcinogens. Synthetic fragrances and artificial dyes are used to create candles that look and smell better, but these contain dangerous chemicals, as well.
Keeping your home clean is important in maintaining the indoor air quality and a pleasant environment for guests, but certain products used to clean can do more harm than good. Even cleaners marketed as organic or eco-friendly can cause health symptoms like congestion, sore throats, and headaches. Products containing any petroleum-based solvents, alcohol, ammonia, or chlorine are especially dangerous, often leading to throat and eye irritation.
Your cleaning products could also give off volatile organic compounds, which may worsen existing respiratory health problems like asthma and allergies. Some of the most commonly used products that contain VOCs include floor and furniture polish, chlorine-based bleach, oven cleaning products, upholstery and rug cleaners, and just about anything in an aerosol can.
Smoke is hard on your lungs, so it’s not surprising that it lowers the indoor air quality. Whether it’s cigarette smoke or the smoke from a nearby fire, it’s important to keep it out of your house as much as possible. Never smoke inside your home or within a few feet of doors, windows, and exterior air intakes.
Instead of lighting a candle to combat unpleasant odors in your home, you might be tempted to pull out a can of air freshener and start spraying. However, this is just as dangerous, if not more so, as using candles. Air fresheners often contain toxic pollutants that can make your family sick. In fact, the toxicity has been compared to that of secondhand smoke.
Some products contain glycol ethers, which can lead to anemic symptoms, fatigue, and nausea, while others have phthalates, which are chemicals used to soften plastic. Natural air fresheners, such as essential oils and baking soda, are better alternatives to chemical-laced commercial products.
When your kids play outside or Fido rolls around in the grass, they may be tracking in another substance that is lowering your indoor air quality. Pollen is especially common during the spring and summer months. Many people suffer from pollen allergies, so when it’s tracked in and gets into the HVAC system, you may notice symptoms like eye irritation, sore throats, and congestion.
It’s tough to get the pollen out once it has settled in the ducts, so try to keep pollen outdoors as much as possible. Before your kids come back inside, have them change their clothes or at least leave their shoes outside. Bathe your pets often, especially if they go outside. Regular duct cleaning can also help remove pollen and other contaminants from the system.
Indoor air quality plays a major role in the overall health, comfort, and wellness of your family, so contact us at Aqua Plumbing & Air at (941) 306-3715 to learn more about our IAQ solutions.
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