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How Polluted is the Air Inside Your Home?

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

I have often sighed in despair while stepping out of the house in the early evening, seeing the smog hanging over the city making clear breathing and visibility a challenge. The thought of stepping out to the pollution makes chores seem depressing. It stands to reason that some of this polluted air may find residence inside our homes. The images of air pollution and the outdoors seem to be attached like Siamese twins. Yet, how often have you conjured up the mental picture of air pollution hanging in the insides of a trendy urban home? Probably never. But Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) accounts for most of our indoor colds, skin allergies and eats into our immune system.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution:

IAQ is dependent on the amount of air contaminants inside your home such as quantities of suspended particles, vapors from household gadgets (humidifiers, computers, etc.), fumes and gases from chemical products we use (deodorants, hair sprays, nail enamel removers, dyes, perfumes, cigarettes), as well molds, mildew and bacteria, building material (asbestos), wall and furniture paints, oil, kerosene, insect and plant pesticides, starch sprays and other aerosols and fumes from hot non-stick cooking ware, certain plants that emanate specific aroma, dirt in general and open windows that let in high emissions from the outside.

How Indoor Pollution Affects You:

• Treatable conditions--allergic rhinitis, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, shortness of breath, lethargy, nausea, coughing and throat allergies, etc.
• Conditions that require aggressive management--asthma, skin allergies, etc.
• Critical conditions--sometimes health conditions come to the surface after being exposed to bad IAQ for years such as cancer or cardiac conditions, etc.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

1. Get the IAQ of your home measured/checked, especially for radon and lead contamination.
2. Identify which of the above-mentioned sources is a problem for you.
3. Re-adjust and place the emitting equipments near windows or ventilation sources.
4. Check to see if you have enough and working/effective ventilators, chimneys, etc., at home.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

As a retailer of air purifiers, I can attest that this is great advice. The only problem with ventilation though is that sometimes the air outside can be very polluted, causing toxins to accumulate indoors. This is particularly the case when someone lives in a high pollen/cedar area or near a major source of vehicle traffic. In these cases, tip #5 is especially relevant.

KN Smith

February 16, 2011 - 12:49am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.