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The Problem with Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

We often think of our home as a safe haven from the pollution that plagues outdoor air quality. The sad reality is that our indoor air quality is worse than outdoors. The air in your home is contaminated with pollutants, chemicals, noxious odors and particulate matter. It is vital to clean up the environment in which we spend so much of our time. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average American spends close to 90% of their time indoors – and a big portion of this indoor exposure is within the confines of our home.

The Journal of Science reported recently that 95% of the world’s population is exposed to airborne particulates at levels that exceed the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, the WHO estimates that 93% of children are breathing toxic air, and around 600,000 of those children die due to respiratory infections caused by this poor air quality.

Fine particulate air pollution is now listed as the sixth leading contributors to death worldwide.

Where Does Air Pollution Come From?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a common group of air pollutants that can significantly decrease the quality of the air. VOCs are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. These volatile organic compounds are emitted from many different sources in a home and they can be up to 10 times more harmful indoors, particularly for children.

These chemicals release from certain products and into the air in a process called “off-gassing”. Normally, when the off-gassing process occurs an odor can develop within the environment and create an increase irritation to those exposed. Common VOCs found in your home include formaldehydes, acetone, xylene, toluene, and benzene and all of these can be hazardous when exposed to in large amounts.

Common Sources of VOCs Inside the Home

There are so many inconspicuous sources of VOCs harbored inside your living space. Construction materials, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and cosmetics are common sources of air pollution.

1.) Furniture

We have all had the experience of purchasing a new couch or mattress and being able to smell the chemicals used in production. Furniture is often constructed using numerous chemicals; these chemicals will release into the air in your home and decrease the overall air quality. The vast majority of the chemicals used in furniture are listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) database.

It is always better to purchase furniture made with non-toxic ingredients that is not treated with flame-retardants. Also, leave your new furniture outside for a time until it is done off-gassing.

2.) Carpets

There will likely be an overwhelming smell that overtakes your home when you lay new carpet.  This is likely due to the strong chemical adhesives used during the installation process. A chemical called 4-phenylcylohexene (4-PCH) is a toxic chemical that causes the fragrant smell produced by the new carpeting. The VOC emission is highest right after the installation of the carpeting because the chemicals are being released into the air from the newly added VOC source.

3.) Household Cleaners

Did you know that household cleaners can contain various chemicals that are potentially hazardous to human health? Many cleaning supplies are composed of irritants to the eyes, throat, and head. Many household cleaners used daily utilize an amalgam of chemicals. These chemicals can contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and potential headaches.

I highly recommend consulting the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living phone app to help you choose your household products more wisely. Harsh VOCs are not necessary for a clean home. You can be clean and also have a healthy indoor air quality.

4.) Paint

Paint, as you could imagine, is a volatile source of many hazardous chemicals that collect within the environment. The controversy behind the toxicity of paint has long been a topic of discussion for environmentalist, who have found a significant presence of VOCs in paint. VOCs are heavily used as solvents in paint to give it its excellent performance and durability. After painting, the levels of VOCs inside your home can increase up to 1,000 times and be harmful to human health.

Low to zero VOC paint is currently available on the market. Be aware of what you are buying and protect yourself from unnecessary exposure to those VOCs.

Do Air Purifiers Work for VOC Elimination

If you cannot avoid VOCs inside the home, you can help clear the air with ventilation of the contaminated area. An intake of fresh air inside the home will filter out the contaminated air and allow cleaner air to take residence in your home. Unfortunately, opening a window or door will not eliminate all the VOCs. VOCs can settle onto the surfaces of your home and become airborne at different times. Therefore, utilizing a high-efficiency air purification device inside your home could be necessary to eliminate VOCs from your home. The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is the ideal air purification system for VOC elimination with a proprietary earth mineral technology that is able to effectively neutralize and eliminate VOCs and noxious odors.

There is no doubt that indoor air pollution is a huge risk to our health. Consequently, the most effective preventive medicine is the use of a high-quality air purifier in the home.

 

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link meaning I make a small commission if you purchase through this link.

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