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- 10 Indoor Pollutants
10 Indoor Pollutants
- Photo: mrforde.blogspot.com
8. Carbon monoxide/particulates. Colorless, odorless carbon monoxide as well as fine particulates and other combustion pollutants come from many sources. Their effects can be flu-like symptoms, serious illness or death. “With the last several years of higher energy costs and problems with the economy, a lot of folks are trying to really tighten their homes,” says Vogel. “But many don’t do a whole-house assessment. They can tighten their homes beyond what combustion air is need for appliances. That brings on carbon monoxide and other problems because the house is not allowed to breathe.”
Be sure to vent woodstoves and gas stoves in your home. Properly install and maintain chimneys and flues. In the annual furnace inspection, make sure the heat exchanger is not cracked. Refrain from smoking in the home. Consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm, use a properly sized range hood if there is a gas stove and vent all clothes dryers to the outside so moisture and particulates also can be removed.
9. Formaldehyde. Pungent and colorless, this gas can prompt irritating to life-threatening immediate reactions or reactions after repeat exposures. It’s found in many building materials and products, from pressed-wood drawer fronts and bookshelves to furniture tops, subflooring, and cabinets.
Before purchasing a product, ask about the formaldehyde content. New products can release increased amounts of formaldehyde when indoor temperatures or humidity is high, so provide plenty of ventilation. Emissions usually drop as products age. Check for alternative, formaldehyde-free products such as those offered by Columbia Forest Products.
10. Pesticides. Pesticides may not be thought of as indoor air pollutants yet the liquids, sprays, powders, crystals and foggers used to kill insects, termites, rodents, fungi, or microbes in our homes are just that. Pesticides also may be tracked in from yards or drift in through open windows. Depending on a pesticide’s mix, health effects may range from minimal to eventual damage to the central nervous system and kidneys and increased cancer risk.
To reduce impacts, take the manufacturer’s directions seriously. Don’t store chemicals in your home. Consider non-chemical methods. Keep indoor spaces clean and dry to reduce the chances of problems. Make informed decisions about pesticide use by visiting the National Pesticide Information Center.
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