Why do you need to know the sources of indoor air pollution? Well, our most trusted and credible agencies – the EPA, CDC, the WHO, and many credible universities all agree: The air inside your home is toxic, more hazardous to your health than outdoor air!
We have governmental standards for outdoor air, but ZERO standards for indoor air. So it is 100% YOUR responsibility to identify AND prevent dangerous contaminants from making you and your family sick.
A disturbing news segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” informed us that a furnished baby nursery, tested for VOCs (volatile organic compounds), contained more than 300 harmful chemical compounds, while just TWO were found in the air outside the baby’s bedroom window.
Let’s identify the causes of indoor air and how it affects you and the people you love:
1. Carpeting and Rugs
New carpet releases formaldehyde from its vinyl backing, out-gassing for a minimum of 5 years. Your small children with small lungs and vulnerable immune systems play on the floor, breathing it in, even putting things in their mouths. Your pets lay on the floor and eat off the floor. Formaldehyde and other carpet chemicals have been associated with cancer, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath.
2. Building Materials
Paint, adhesives, plywood, sealants all contain Volatile Organic Chemicals aka VOCs, like formaldehyde and asbestos.
Many people don’t realize that asbestos does NOT just exist in attic insulation of older homes. Asbestos thrives in new and remodeled homes. Asbestos comes from deteriorated and slightly damaged building materials like tile and insulation. Fibers from the disturbed materials linger in the air so you can inhale it! Then those toxic fibers turn to dust and fall to the floor… close to your pets and children.
The American Lung Association says: formaldehyde causes cancer, asbestos causes lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure does more than increases your risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. If you don’t get cancer, you are at a great risk for asbestos, which causes scar tissue on the lungs, making it difficult to breath.
Most furniture is no longer made of real wood. It is made of materials like particle board and plywood and toxic varnish. Bedding is especially harmful to your indoor air. What’s in your mattress? Adhesives, plasticizers, flame retardants, and foam that degrades over time and outgasses for years. Chemically treated cardboard and conventional wool and cotton are treated with pesticides.
In a study conducted by Brandon Boor at University of Texas, it was discovered that VOCs, gaseous pollutants, plasticizers and flame retardants exist in 87 micrograms per square inch in all mattresses. In baby crib mattresses, body heat increases the rate of the outgassing and baby is breathing that in to his or her tiny lungs. This early life exposure to toxins causes reproductive disorders and chronic allergies. Boor also found that microorganisms, fungal spores, and skin cells that routinely collect on bedding are inhaled by you each night as you move around in your sleep.
The second leading cause of cancer after smoking. Radon forms in rocks and soil outdoors. It enters a home via tap water, cracks in walls, basement floors, foundations, and other openings. Radon decays and releases radioactive byproducts that are inhaled and can cause lung cancer. Exposure to radon outdoors is not as harmful as radon trapped INSIDE your home. Inside it is highly concentrated and dangerous.
5. Toys & Hobby products
Plastic toys, glues, and paints, contain BPA, phthalates, lead, formaldehyde, flame retardant chemicals and PVC. Toy manufacturers in the United States have strict standards and restrictions when it comes toy production and materials. Unfortunately, most of the toys and craft products available in the US are manufactured in other countries that have less, if any, standards.
Leeching toxic chemicals from children’s tools are linked to developmental delays, various cancers, impaired immune system, long-term respiratory issues, and more.
6. Indoor Moisture and Mold
Mold exposure has been linked to chronic respiratory illness, skin conditions, and long term, debilitating neurological issues. It has caused many people to become so sick, it has destroyed their careers and permanently alters their quality of life. There is still much more information we don’t know and is being gathered every day regarding mold borne illness.
Mold isn’t just present in excessive moisture from damaged roofs or pipes. Mold thrives in properly functioning air conditioning and heating systems. Mold is present and grows on all building materials like paint, wood, wallpaper, insulation, tile, drywall, carpeting, and upholstery. Mold makes its way into your home by leaching onto your pets and clothing.
7. Cooking and Cookware
Gas and electric stoves emit particulate matter, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and VOCs when frying, grilling, or toasting foods, especially when you use non-stick cookware. The smell of burned oils and meat grease is a strong indicator of the harmful pollutants released during cooking.
If you cook with nonstick cookware, you are adding to the toxic emissions inside your home. According to Organic Authority, non-stick cookware releases toxic polymer fumes that cause flu-like symptoms (fever, shivering, sore throat, and muscle weakness) and has “been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, infertility, liver damage, and thyroid disease.”
8. Tobacco Products
The American Heart Association states that smoking tobacco products increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and premature death. In March of 2020, the CDC stated that tobacco products kill about 480,000 smokers per year.
Secondhand smoke kills more than 41,000 people per year.
Have you heard about Third Hand Smoke victims? Mayo clinic defines “Third Hand Smoke” as “…residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces.”
An NIH study concluded, “Concentrations of third-hand smoke exposure observed in children are disproportionately higher than adults; chemicals present in third-hand smoke cause damage to DNA; and third-hand smoke contains carcinogens that put exposed children at increased risk of cancer.”
Health implications aside, smoke damages your beautiful home interior – aging and discoloring your walls and furniture. It also leaves a smell behind that you won’t notice, but that your house guests will not be able to tolerate, especially those prone to asthma and allergies.
9. Household Cleaning supplies
According to the EPA, VOCs are used as ingredients in cleaning and disinfecting products, polishes, waxes, and degreasers. All these products, including those labeled “green” and “environmentally friendly” outgas organic compounds while you use them. While they are being stored in your bathroom or kitchen sinks, they continue to outgas. This outgassing is harmful and far reaching even if they are being stored in your garage.
10. Air freshener products
Air fresheners contain phthalates. Phthalates are also used in soft plastics, nail polish, and perfumes as well. These chemicals interfere with hormone production, reduce sperm count, and cause birth defects.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley found that most top-selling fresheners contain significant amounts of ethylene-based glycol ethers, classified as “hazardous air pollutants” by the EPA and California Air Resources Board.
They have been linked to blood contamination and neurological difficulties, including fatigue, nausea, tremors, and anemia.
All candles – from paraffin and soy to beeswax – emit soot carbon particles that become airborne and lead to respiratory problems. The Paraffin candles is the most common and the most harmful. Burning paraffin emits large amounts of the carcinogens toluene and benzene. Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, coal or shale, and is whitened with bleach that infuses it with dioxins… one of THE most toxic substances ever produced. Another chemical, acrolein, which is linked to the risk of lung cancer from cigarette smoke, is added to the wax as a solidifying agent.
Other toxins in candles include artificial dyes and synthetic fragrances, especially those used for aromatherapy. These ingredients often contain toxic plasticizers and solvents that are released when you burn the candle.
Today’s clothing is easier to wash and dry. Wool, silk, and linens have gone by the wayside, making laundry easier and less time consuming. The trade-off, unfortunately – non shrinking wrinkle-free (permanent press) clothes made from synthetic materials containing formaldehyde.
If you still wear wool, silk and linen, the chemicals from your dry cleaner are also toxic. Dry cleaners use a human carcinogen, perchloroethylene, AKA tetrachloroethylene, PCE, or perc.
Studies conducted by Environmental Working Group, US National Toxicology Program, The International Agency on Research for Cancer, and Georgetown University have all concluded:
(1) Low concentrations of perc are known to cause respiratory and eye irritation, headache, dizziness, and vision problems.
(2) Perc stays on your clothing. Specifically, half of it outgasses in your home and office while the other 50 % remains on your clothes.
13. Personal hygiene products
There is very little oversight and accountability for manufacturers of personal care products like soaps, shampoos, and other hair products. The fragrance in these products is the biggest threat. Fragrance contains many unknown carcinogens. The one we do know about is phthalates, which makes the “good” smell last longer. Like cleaning products, they sit in your home and continually outgas.
14. Pet Dander
Some people are allergic to pets or have asthma that is triggered by allergens. For these people, inhaling these allergens causes allergic reactions like skin rashes, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes, even a trip to the hospital. It makes their already vulnerable respiratory symptoms worse, leading to a decline in the ability of their lungs to function.
15. “Outdoor to Indoor” Air
Believe it or not, Outdoor air pollution permeates into your home. This occurs when you open the doors and windows. Your home is not air-tight. Outdoor elements will slowly find their way in.
Particulate soot kills 200,000 people per year in the USA alone. Particulate soot comes from the school bus, the garbage truck, the freeway five miles from your house, the factory 10 miles from your house. Particulate soot and other outside air-borne contaminants easily make it into the indoor air of your home.
Before You Fix Indoor Air Pollution, You Must Understand It
Before we can even think about the various steps to take to mitigate indoor air pollution, we must know what causes this serious threat and how it effects our health – we must know that sources of indoor air pollution.
Now that we’ve covered these details, we encourage you to explore the solutions we offer for fighting indoor air pollution. For example, see the details of our VisionRise Air Purifier:
Air Purifier UV Light
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