In part, that’s because of chemicals in their homes, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
1. One big source of indoor air pollution is the off-gassing of chemicals in many building materials. A big culprit is the particleboard or medium density fiberboard in many countertops, kitchen cabinets, shelving and furniture.
For years after installation the adhesives in the pressed-wood products used in making them releases urea formaldehyde a known human carcinogen.
2. Also, many paints, floor finishes, adhesives and sealants emit unhealthy volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That "new house smell" is a telltale sign that there are harmful chemicals in the indoor environment.
3. Fortunately, some green firms in building products industry are responding to these indoor pollution problems by developing safer products. They include low-VOC paints, cleaners and adhesives. These products are now commonly available from most major suppliers at costs comparable to conventional products.
4. Other in-door air pollutants are biological. Mold, for example, grows in places that become moist. That happens with inadequate ventilation, poor design and maintenance, and other reasons.
Another major cause for indoor air pollution is dust. Reduce it by putting walk-off door mats outside all doors to the outside, removing wall-to-wall carpeting and install hard surface flooring materials such as natural linoleum, bamboo, wood or wood alternatives, or concrete.
5. Finally, to make your home air cleaner than fresh, install in your internal HVAC system a high efficiency in-duct electronic air cleaner (EAC) – one that does not emit harmful ozone gas.
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