Seven Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Most people feel that their home is their sanctuary, but there are several dangerous pollutants that could be lurking in the air inside your home. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, these pollutants can make you sick and contribute to a problem known as sick building syndrome. The good news is that most pollutants cause mild discomfort and once the pollutant is removed, the symptoms will also go away.

1. Radon

Radon sounds like the name of your favorite alien, but it’s actually a colorless gas that exists virtually everywhere in the world in low levels. As uranium in the Earth breaks down and degrades, radon is one of the by-products.

Exposure at elevated levels can put you at risk for respiratory problems and lung cancer. Using a screening kit to test your home and determine the current levels of radon can help you determine if your house is safe.

2. Carbon Monoxide

This invisible and odorless gas is produced by several appliances in your home. When it’s burned properly, carbon monoxide won’t reach a poisonous level in the home. Installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home can protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning. You should also get your heating system checked yearly to make sure there are no leaks and the system has been installed correctly.

3. Nitrogen Dioxide

Nitrogen dioxide is produced from road traffic and other fossil fuel combustion processes. It can get into your home and linger in the air. It’s a toxic gas that can cause irritation to the throat, eyes, respiratory system and nose. Exposure to high doses can lead to a potentially fatal buildup of fluid in the lungs. Moderate exposure may cause bronchitis, and even low levels can impair lung function. Make sure your heaters are installed properly and allowing fumes to escape outdoors.

4. Lead Particles

When it comes to lead, it’s everywhere. Lead is a natural metal that used to be included in house paint. It was eventually banned in 1978, but lead particles can become airborne and lead to dangerous levels of air pollution. Prolonged exposure can affect the brain, central nervous system, lower intelligence and delay growth. Keeping your home clean and wiping down surfaces can reduce the amount of lead in your home.

5. Asbestos

This mineral exists throughout the world, and it is a very hazardous air pollutant. While intact, the mineral isn’t hazardous. When fibers are disturbed and get into the air, it becomes a threat since the small fibers can easily enter the lungs. If you have asbestos in your home, you can hire a trained professional to remove the hazard. Don’t attempt to remove asbestos on your own.

6. Mold

Mold is one of the most common pollutants in the home, and it’s one that we often take for granted. However, it can cause all kinds of problems. In certain individuals, it may trigger an allergic reaction. Others may have minor headaches, skin irritation and general malaise. Removing mold from your home can help keep your family safe from the harmful effects of mold. For a serious mold problem, you can hire a professional to have it removed from your home.

7. Household Products

Pesticides and other household products can contaminate the air in your home and make it unhealthy to breathe. Try to purchase products that don’t have harsh chemicals, harm granite countertops and make sure you keep any cleaning products in a sealed container. This will prevent chemicals from lingering in a certain area and contaminating the air in your home.