Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Family Sick ?
Did you know that biological and chemical sources you may not be aware of can compromise your home's indoor air quality? More than 4 million people die each year from health problems related to household air pollution. Learn to identify the following four causes for poor indoor air quality in your home.
Mold and mildew can grow in all parts of your home, including walls, carpets, furniture, appliances, and floors. Basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are some of the most common spots to have mold or mildew. Mold and mildew contamination can cause breathing problems such as asthma, throat and eye irritation, runny nose, diseases, and fever. Allergies can increase these symptoms and their severity. In addition, infants and children are more susceptible to mold and mildew related health problems.
Make sure to keep moisture levels under control to prevent mildew and mold from growing in your home. Repair leaks, keep the humidity levels low with a dehumidifier, make sure areas are well-ventilated by using fans and open windows, use special air filters on your HVAC system to trap particles, and keep up on dusting and vacuuming to remove mold spores.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the ground. Radon can find its way into your home through small cracks or joints in basements and foundations. Even though this gas originates from the earth, you'll be more likely exposed to radon in your home than outdoors due to enclosed areas that trap the gas.
Radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and the only way to find out if you have radon in your home is to test for its presence. You can find self-test kits that you can use on your own, but the most reliable way to detect radon is by having a professional inspection.
Exposure to radon produces no immediate symptoms, but in cases where long-term exposure has occurred, radon has links to cancer. Smokers are at a greater risk when radon is present since the radon particles can attach to the inhaled smoke and become lodged in the lungs. With the help of a licensed professional, you can take steps to cut radon levels in your home.
Carbon monoxide can come from gas stoves and heaters, chimneys, furnaces, and tobacco smoke. Since it's an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas, you'll need a carbon monoxide detector to determine whether carbon monoxide is present in your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can include fatigue, lethargy, nausea, headaches, and dizziness.
Formaldehyde is commonly found in certain building materials used in your home, such as fiberboard, particle board, certain types of plywood, drapes, adhesives, and insulation in homes built through the 1970s. Insulation is usually the main source of excessive formaldehyde in the home.
You can have insulation replaced or you can help reduce its effects by moderating your home's temperature, increasing ventilation, and keeping the humidity down. Formaldehyde exposure can cause irritation in the nose, throat, and eyes as well as fatigue, rashes, coughing, wheezing, and certain types of cancer.
Now that you know some of the common contaminants in your home that could make your family sick, you can take steps to keep your indoor air healthy for your loved ones.