Is indoor air pollution hiding in your home??
Find out the top 18 sources of
indoor air pollution and then eliminate them from your home.
What is Indoor Air Pollution
It’s easy to understand when your
home needs sweeping or dusting, but it’s harder to figure out when the indoor
air you breathe needs cleaning.
Dirty indoor air can be harmful to you and your family members without any visible signs.
Surprisingly, indoor air can carry more pollutants than its outdoor counterpart.
Never allow your home air to pose
any adverse effect on the health of your loved ones.
It can be deadlier if any of your
family members are diagnosed with asthma, breathing issues, or chronic lung
In this blog, we want to make you
aware of all possible indoor air pollution sources and show you how to get
yourself protected from these invisible dangers.
What are the Sources of Indoor Air Pollution?
“Asbestos,” a commonly used housing material
formed by a group of fibrous minerals which are naturally occurring.
Multiple studies have pointed out
that asbestos fibers can trigger chronic breathing problems and even
Old and worn-out asbestos
products release microscopic – the tiniest form of fibers in the indoor air.
These particles are capable of
suspending themselves for an extended period and get into your lungs when you
inhale the polluted air.
Airborne fibers of asbestos are
taste and odorless. Damaged and weakening products like fireproofing, acoustic
materials, insulation, and floor tiles are the major sources of airborne
asbestos in your home.
People dealing with asbestos daily
such as asbestos abatement workers, maintenance and custodial workers, miners,
and insulation workers) are at a higher risk of exposure to these deadly
If correct safety measures such
as face covers and masks are not used, workers may carry these unwanted guests
(asbestos fibers) to their home and increase the health risk of their family
Bacteria And Viruses
We are all aware of airborne
viruses and bacteria that cause recurring diseases such as influenza and the common
The presence of these toxic organisms in indoor air can worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
You may wonder how airborne
bacteria or viruses can trigger so many health issues.
They play a pivotal role in inflicting and worsening any disease due to their uncanny ability to use the air as a medium and travel a long distance through it.
When anyone coughs or sneezes,
droplets of mucus and tiny water filled with bacteria and viruses spread in the
air or settles down on the flat surface, doorknobs, or window latches.
Inhaling or contacting these harmful organisms can trigger conditions such as colds, coughs, flu and cause deadly diseases like tuberculosis and other hard-to-treat infections.
Check out these 20 natural ways to purify your indoor air.
Building And Paint Products
When the indoor air gets filled with the aroma of fresh paints, we feel happy and elated without realizing that these paints induce toxic VOCs in the indoor air and put our health in grave danger.
Similarly, new construction
materials may release dust and fumes that can trigger various health hazards.
Commonly used building materials
such as furniture, plywood, and other artificially processed wood products
contain toxic chemicals that release bad odors and gases with age and regular
wear and tear.
These products emit different
volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including deadly formaldehyde into the
If you use many of these products at the same time, the indoor air can get highly polluted due to the toxic mix of different chemical fumes.
Chemically induced solvents, artificial paints, polishes, adhesives, floor and surface cleaners, and carpet cleaning materials can release harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and VOCs as they wear out.
Getting air purifying indoor plants into your home can be an easy and effective way to clean your indoor air.
Carbon Monoxide, scientifically
known as CO, is a colorless, tasteless and odorless but a highly toxic gas.
The primary source of this gas is
burnt fuel, such as oil, gasoline, kerosene, and other natural gases.
Regular exposure to CO depletes
the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and circulate it to our respiratory
Without proper precaution, it may
reach or cross danger levels outdoors or indoors and trigger irreversible
health issues. The familiar sources are:
- Various Gas-emitting appliances (ovens,
furnaces, ranges, clothes dryers, water, and room heaters, etc.)
- Wood stoves and Fireplaces
- Oil and coal furnaces
- Heaters fueled by kerosene or oil or space
- Camp stoves and charcoal grills
- Lawnmowers and other power tools run by gas
- Fumes emitted by automobile exhausts.
Once Co sneaks into your
respiratory system, it slowly attaches to the hemoglobin and gradually attacks
the red blood cells.
Haemoglobin is known as the
oxygen carrier of your body.
When CO breaks into hemoglobin,
it does the first damage by blocking the oxygen level mandatory for your body
Gradually its adverse effect is
widely seen and felt through a vast range of health issues.
Even low levels of CO exposure
may trigger Nausea, Headache, Weakness, Dizziness, Disorientation, and
Confusion. These conditions may worsen without proper medical attention.
Carpets may elevate the aesthetic
of your home, but its sticky surface traps all kinds of pollutants such as
cockroach allergens, pet dander, dust mites, lead, microscopic particle
pollutants, pesticides, mold spores, dust, and dirt.
Toxic gases and VOCs float in the
indoor air and finally settle into your carpets by sticking to the tiny
At the time of home renovation,
strolling on the carpet, or even vacuuming, these toxic pollutants take refuge
into the indoor air but doesn’t get eliminated.
Your small kids are the most
vulnerable to the contaminants stuck in the carpet. They spend most of the time
playing on the floor and tend to put their hands inside the mouths.
If the majority of your home
surface area is carpet-covered, it can be challenging to remove allergens and
other indoor air pollutants.
Chemically processed carpets,
adhesives, and carpet pads can be potentially harmful to your health.
Some of these glues and chemicals
are made with VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which release toxic pollutants
and odor in the indoor environment.
Placement of new carpet has also
been linked with persistent coughing and wheezing in babies and infants in
their first few years of life.
Cleaning Supplies And Household Chemicals
Regular cleaning of the home,
workplaces, and schools ensures good health for us and our kids.
The only challenge we face with
the readily available cleaners is the high percentage of toxic chemicals.
You can find these chemicals
everywhere, starting from polishes to soaps to pet grooming products.
Products that are advertised as
“natural” or “green” may contain substances that can trigger health issues.
Many of the household cleaning
products may contain allergens that cause throat or eye irritation, skin
rashes, persistent headaches, respiratory ailments, and with regular exposure,
these may even cause cancer.
Some of these products release
toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and other volatile organic
compounds in the indoor air.
We recommend you stay away from
all these toxic substances, including bleach (commonly found in detergents and
cleaners) and ammonia (a principal component of chemical fertilizers).
Room fresheners with artificially
infused fragrances can grow indoor pollutants exponentially in your home.
Before using any cleaning
product, thoroughly read the product labels, substances ratio, and carefully
follow the instructions to ensure minimal exposure.
Continued usage of household
cleaners with toxic chemicals and VOCs can be the major trigger for chronic
respiratory ailments, persistent headaches, and different allergic reactions.
Cockroaches, the unsightly and
unpleasant pests which eventually become your unwanted guests by thriving on
the nook and crannies of your home.
Remember, they are not just an
isolated problem to look at and solve.
Their ability to produce harmful
allergens and substances, which can trigger an allergic reaction in your body,
or worsen the condition of asthma patients, make them highly notorious.
The allergens germinated by
cockroaches get stocked up in their feces and different body parts. These
microscopic particles can easily float in the indoor air and suspend there for
a long time and eventually increases the pollution level.
Cockroach allergens share the
same behavioral pattern to dust mites and get attached to heavier and larger
particles that settle on the surface.
These allergens like to remain
grounded rather than being airborne. Vacuuming your carpets, rugs, or dusty
corners of your home can stir these up, push back into your home air.
Eventually, when you or any
family member fall into the breathing range of these allergens, you will end up
inhaling these hidden monsters into your respiratory system.
The familiar places are bedding,
pillows, and many other dust-trapping materials for these allergens to hide and
Dust Mites And Dust
Dust mites are invisible to human
eyes but equally deadly as roach allergens.
These insect-like, microscopic
pests can spawn some of the most lethal yet common allergens responsible for
asthma and allergy triggers in many of us.
Dust mites are little
Frankensteins can be anywhere in your house, they can live and germinate in the
mattresses, beddings, carpets, rugs, curtains, upholstered, and old furniture
in your home.
They get nourished by feeding on
our dead skin cells traced in dust and grow at lightning speed.
Dust mites don’t behave like
parasites; they won’t sting, bite, or sneak inside your bodies. Instead, they
can do much greater damage to your body and immune system.
The allergens generated by them come
from their body fragments and fecal pellets.
Dust mites problems are
widespread in the US, nearly every 4 out of 5 home here have alarming levels of
dust mite allergens.
If you or your family members are
diagnosed with asthma or allergy, the conditions may get aggravated with dust
If these allergens remain
undetected for long, they can have significant health impacts on kids, older
adults, pregnant women, and people prone to allergies and respiratory issues.
Floods And Water Damage
Water leakage and flood water can
be problematic for people with chronic respiratory conditions and aggravate the
situation in some cases.
If your area gets flooded or
waterlogged after heavy rain without a proper drainage system, the standing
water can act as the perfect breeding ground for deadly viruses, mold, and
These organisms are capable of
suspending in the air for long and eventually gets inhaled and expose people to
the risk of respiratory diseases.
Even when the floodwater is relatively
clean, such as the storage of rainwater, still these microorganisms can thrive
there and may trigger allergies to sensitive individuals with low immunity.
Floodwaters carry several toxins
and sewage, mainly in the urban and congested areas.
These may include gasoline, diesel or oil, dead animals, stinky garbage, toxic chemicals that get trapped in the flooding.
Formaldehyde is a highly toxic,
flammable, colorless gas with a different odor that can be easily detected at deficient
Regular exposure of this VOC
(Volatile Organic Compound) can have many detrimental side effects, including
Formaldehyde is naturally
produced chemical, sometimes small amount is generated by our bodies as well.
The high percentage of toxic fume
emitted by formaldehyde is deadly for our health.
Formaldehyde has been
scientifically linked as the primary cause of developing a rare type of cancer
of the nasopharynx, the upper part of our throat placed behind the nose.
Our eyes, nose, and throat get irritated
with the exposure or contact of formaldehyde.
These symptoms are visible at
even low levels of this toxic VOC, especially in odor or smell-sensitive
Apart from long term damage, the
short term impacts of formaldehyde can range from nausea, headache, breathing
difficulty, or runny nose.
Prolonged exposure may trigger
sudden asthma attacks, persistent sneezing and cough, wheezing sound, and other
Each one of us is constantly
exposed to lead through gasoline and different other household products. It is
commonly used in processing daily household stuff and car fuels.
Like many other pollutants, lead
is also a naturally produced substance, but unlike its counterparts, this toxic
element sticks to air for a long time, causing a lot of health issues.
The worst part is that the safe
level of lead exposure could not be determined by science until now.
Lead is commonly found in the indoor
air of homes constructed before 1978 generated by old wall paints.
If you are living in one of those
ancestral houses, make sure to remove old paints and get your indoor walls
freshly painted with organic (chemical-free) paint materials.
You can easily inhale chips, dust,
and other tiny airborne particles released from lead-based paints. If you dry
scrape, remodel and demolish your home, which may also re-suspend microscopic
Puff of dust and contaminated
soil moved indoors from the outside environment are also one of the significant
contributors to indoor lead-based pollution.
Lead levels are much higher near
its potential sources like mines, smelters, old agricultural fields, runways
and roadways with heavy traffic.
If you happen to work around the lead
and have constant exposure to this toxic substance, try to change your clothing
and store your equipment in the office before coming home.
It ensures the safety of your
family members’ health.
Nitrogen dioxide, scientifically
known as NO2, is a close relative to one of the harmful group of gases called
NOx or Nitrogen Oxides.
It’s an equally deadly and a
gaseous air pollutant composed of oxygen and nitrogen.
When fossil fuels like oil, coal,
diesel, or gas are burnt in high temperatures, the toxic gas that is formed is
known as NO2.
The accumulation of NOX and NO2
in the outside air gives rise to particle pollution and generates toxic
chemical reactions, making ozone in the process.
Ozone is one of the six deadliest
and widely known air pollutants, the limit of which in the outdoor air has been
defined by the national air quality standards.
The initiative was taken to
ensure checks and control on ozone-triggered air pollution.
NO2 is commonly found in indoor
air, emitted when cooking gas or fireplace wood is burnt in your home.
NO2 causes a wide range of
adverse effects on our lungs, such as aggravated wheezing and cough, blockage
This occurs due to an increased
level of inflammation, severe asthma attacks, and frequent visits to medical
specialists, hospital emergencies, and admissions due to acute health
Mold And Dampness
Mold is present everywhere in your home.
Starting from dark corners to A/C ducts to window sills to
your drain pipe, you will find mold spores in all indoor spaces.
You have to identify places with excess moisture in your
house as molds thrive on humid conditions.
If you want to know where to
start your search, find the places with high humidity, excess moisture or dampness,
and possible sources of water leakage.
Mold feeds on dampness and spread
inside your house at a steady rate. Excess moisture is also conducive to the
fast growth of cockroaches, bacteria, viruses, and dust mites, which can harm
We strongly recommend you to get
a deep cleaning done of your home at regular intervals to prevent the growth of
mildew, mold and other toxic organisms.
Like other indoor air pollutants,
mold can cause and worsen asthma symptoms and allergic reactions to people who
are susceptible to it.
People having asthma can get
sudden asthma attacks with higher mold exposure and develop severe issues in
their lower and upper respiratory tracts.
Even if you are not prone to
allergy attacks, you may still develop eye irritation, skin rashes, nose
blockage, throat congestion, and chronic lung diseases when encountered with
airborne mold spores.
Pet dander is made of microscopic
skin flecks regularly shed by dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and other furry and
Flakes from pet dander can remain
suspended in the indoor air for a long time, and when inhaled, it can trigger
allergic symptoms or aggravate suppressed respiratory ailments.
Proteins commonly traced in
feces, urine, and saliva of dogs, cats, and other pets may trigger severe
allergic reactions to people with different health issues and low immunity.
Dried saliva becomes airborne
after falling off from your pet’s fur at the time, flaking their skin, and
eventually inhaled by you and your loved ones.
Dust generated from dried animal
feces can get suspended in the indoor air following a similar process.
As per multiple studies, it has
been found that dogs are kept as pets in 32% of the US household, and cats come
a close second with 27%.
However, these studies stressed
the fact that people are more allergic to cats than dogs. Cat owners, you may
now want to keep your lovely friend and your home spanking clean and germ-free.
Radon is widespread across the
United States and one of the naturally generated gas with a huge impact on your
IAQ (indoor air quality) and health.
It’s invisible and can’t be
smelled, but can easily accumulate to dangerous levels inside schools, homes,
Regular and high exposure to this
toxic gas may trigger lung cancer, as well.
Radon exposure is the second most
leading cause of lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases in the US,
followed by smoking.
The only way to trace radon
buildup inside your home is to get indoor air tested. Use different types of
DIY test kits that are easy to use and won’t pinch your pocket.
Residential Wood Burning
Burning wood is common in the US
residences, especially in the winter, and it has been widely associated with
several health issues.
These toxic emissions may happen
in outdoors and indoors round the clock through many devices.
People with cardiac problems,
lung disease, and diabetes may face increased health risks with exposure to the
Older adults, children, and
pregnant ladies are the most vulnerable lot.
Wood smoke emissions may cause
wheezing, persistent coughs, severe asthma attacks, cardiac arrest, lung cancer,
and other acute respiratory issues and premature death of young adults.
The majority of these pollutants
worsen outdoor and indoor air quality.
Secondhand or passive smoke
causes over 41,000 deaths in the United States per year and is considered to be
a severe health hazard.
It may cause significant health
issues or aggravate existing conditions in adults and children, which includes
infection in the respiratory tract, asthma, and irreversible lung cancer.
Until now, no risk-free level has
been determined for passive smoke, and even occasional exposure can
significantly increase the risk of heart and cerebral attacks.
Secondhand smoke comprises plenty
of carcinogenic and highly toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride, benzene,
arsenic ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde. All of them can be lethal
for your health.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds,
commonly known as VOCs, are released in the air from different processes and
products involving toxic chemicals.
Some of these chemicals are known
to have lethal health effects, including cancer. Additionally, they get blended
with other poisonous gases and form deadlier air pollutants.
VOCs can be traced in outdoor and
indoor air. Some of the sources release VOCs in the air at the time, storing or
Some of the commonly found VOCs
are Formaldehyde, toluene, and benzene. Let’s look at some of the common
sources of indoor air pollution:
Indoor Sources of VOCs
Paint strippers and paint
Varnishes and finishes
Sealants and caulks
Carpet, rugs, other flooring and pressed wood
furniture and fixture
Chemically processed disinfectants and floor
Pesticides with harmful chemicals
Air fresheners with artificial fragrance
Deodorants and cosmetics
Gasoline, petrol, kerosene and other fossil
Permanent markers, glues and other color-based
products used in arts and crafts
Wood burning stoves
Photocopiers and office printers
Is Your Indoor Air Unhealthy?
Knowing is the first step in
combating these indoor air pollutants.
Have you noticed any of these in
Share your suggestions in the comments section below.