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Improve Your Health with Cleaner Indoor Air

Updated on April 14, 2014

What is air pollution?

Air pollution refers to the amount of contaminants in the air inside your home or around the immediate perimeter. Air pollution in the home is more commonly known as indoor air quality. If excess pollution exists in a home it can cause a variety of health problems including breathing and pulmonary conditions, skin rashes as well as neurological disturbances. Oftentimes, as soon as the irritant is removed from the home, the occupant's health improves. Keeping the air quality inside the home healthy is especially important for those with babies, toddler, young children and the elderly. These groups, typically, have less ability to live a healthy life during exposure to pollutants.

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

There are a wide variety of causes of indoor air pollution. Eliminating the cause of the pollution will improve the health of everyone living in the home. Sometimes it is a challenge to find the source of the contaminant and other times it is blatantly easy. Many homeowners don't realize the potentially devastating effects of bad air quality in the home. Identifying and correct the problem is important to the health and well being of family, friends and guests.


Mold can grow on any surface in a house that has low air flow and high humidity. Besides being an unsightly addition to any surface in a house, mold can produce allergy symptoms that range from a seemingly benign runny nose to asthma to severe respiratory issues in babies, young children and the elderly. Clean all mold laden surfaces as soon as you see mold.

Inhibiting Mold

Reducing the amount of moisture in a home will limit mold's ability to grow and flourish. Add a dehumidifier to the most humid areas of the house will help to dry the air and reduce mold. Promoting air flow through the use of exhaust fans will also help to reduce mold growth.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the smoke that is inhale in the air by those in the home who do not smoke. Inhaling secondhand smoke induces allergies and reduces lung capacity. Secondhand smoke leads to serious health issues. Of course the best course of action is to make the smoker go outside, but if that is not an option, air purifiers help to filter the toxins out of the air.


What? - Cockroaches are bugs not something that hangs in the air. Roach droppings as well as their bits of skin and shell cause a wide variety of health problems ranging from allergies to asthma to food poisoning. Keeping your house leak free and keeping all food tightly sealed in plastic or glass containers will eliminate the roach's source of food and water, while you take further steps to eradicate them.

Roaches and Asthma

The Cockroach's saliva and feces carry allergens that may trigger asthma attacks as well as allergic symptoms.

Dust Mites

Many people think they are allergic to dust, but in reality the allergy is called by dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic mites that live in dust. Dust mites feast on sloughed off human skin and animal dander, making your bed a veritable smorgasbord for dust mites. Other likely places for dust mites are upholstered furniture, pet beds and carpets. Use a dust mite resistant mattress covers as well as vacuum with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter to get rid of dust mites.

Animal Dander

We love our pets and treat them as part of the family, but when pets sleep in beds, on furniture, lay on carpets or simply live in our houses, they leave behind trails of dander. Animal dander causes itchy eyes, runny noses, congestion and asthma. Keeping the animal dander from settling in the house - dust often with a cloth that holds the dust and dander and vacuum with a HEPA filter equipped vacuum.

Radon Gas

Radon exists in a home due to outside forces that create this radioactive gas. Radon is odorless and colorless. As nature breaks down uranium, the byproduct, radon, is released into water, soil and nearby rocks. Radon will find its way into a basement through cracks in the wall. Repair all cracks and holes in the home's foundation to help keep radon out. Radon causes lung cancer. Monitor Radon levels in the home to keep your family safe and healthy.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless colorless deadly gas. Carbon monoxide leaks into a home through faulty or improperly ducted dryer vent pipes, furnaces, heaters, hot water heaters or exhaust from cars in an attached garage. Exposure to carbon monoxide causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion and death.


The most common lead exposure comes from old lead paint. Any surface painted before 1978 may contain lead. Sanding or scraping lead paint will release the toxins into the air. As the paint ages, cracks and peels harmful lead is also released. Consult a professional for lead paint removal or use an encapsulating gel paint stripper. Always test paint before scraping or sanding to determine if lead is present.

Lead Poisoning

According to the Mayo Clinic, lead poisoning symptoms in children include "irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, sluggishness and fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation and learning difficulties.

The Importance of Testing

If you have any doubts about your indoor air quality - err on the side of caution. Perform home air quality tests to determine the pollutant and perform remediation.


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