Most people are concerned about air pollution, but their concern is typically focused on the burning of fossil fuels, industrial pollutants released into the air and other factors that add to poor outdoor air quality. Very few people actually think about the quality of air in their own home and how poor indoor air quality can affect the health and well-being of their family.
The EPA has ranked indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health risks that people face today. In fact, the EPA has found that indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. Some of the factors that lead to poor indoor air quality include the use of chemicals for cleaning, burning certain types of candles, poor ventilation and using air fresheners in the home.
The number of people being diagnosed with asthma continues to rise. Unfortunately, poor indoor air quality can exacerbate asthma, leading to a decline in quality of life. The elderly are often most vulnerable to respiratory problems caused by poor IAQ because they tend to spend large portions of their day indoors.
Many air fresheners contain a group of noxious chemicals known as phthalates. These chemicals are known to interfere with reproduction, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions and can even disrupt hormone function in young children. Another common household item that can contribute to poor indoor air quality is the use of candles. Many candles, especially those that are scented and made with paraffin wax, have been shown to contain dangerous toluene and benzene, two known carcinogens.
Indoor air quality can be improved by taking a few simple steps to help purify the air. Proper ventilation is absolutely essential. Additionally, you can purchase furniture and other household items that are organic and not treated with harmful chemicals. When dusting, wipe tables and other items with a damp cloth rather than dry dusting and letting the particles become airborne again. Of course, spending time outside and making sure you get plenty of fresh air can also help limit your exposure to harmful pollutants.
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