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Indoor Air More Polluted than Outdoors

Administration Staff

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The EPA regulates pollutants that are released into the air outdoors but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, air inside people’s homes can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air found outside. Since most people are unaware that indoor air quality is so bad, they may overlook some significant sources of pollution.

Common Pollutants

The EPA monitors the amount of smog, ozone, and other airborne contaminants that are produced by cars and factories. Some indoor pollutants are well-known hazards that people know to avoid. Cigarette smoke is a good example. People are generally aware that secondhand smoke can be hazardous. Other known hazards are carbon monoxide and radon. But while these dangerous pollutants are commonly recognized, there are many more overlooked. 

Paints

Much has been made of lead-based paints, which is a relevant issue. Some older houses still have such paint on their walls. When the paint begins to break down, it can release lead-laden dust into the air. This can get on hands and, if children live in the house, it can end up in their mouths. Lead causes brain damage, so older homes with lead paint need to be carefully maintained. Yet even new coats of paint have their dangers. New paint releases fumes – called volatile organic compounds – that have a many health effects, especially when they’re breathed in small doses over long periods of time. Homes can be ventilated, but the best option is to choose VOC-free paint. Another contaminant that may surprise people: hobby paints and glues. If one can’t avoid them altogether, at least avoid using them indoors without significant ventilation.

Carpeting

Carpets trap dust, dust mites, dirt, fungus, pet dander, and pretty much anything that’s tracked in on the bottom of one’s shoes. These particles linger and are known to cause lung irritation and also exacerbate allergies. More insidiously, carpeting is manufactured using chemicals that irritate the respiratory system. Formaldehyde is a good example. It causes lung damage, irritates the nose and throat, triggers asthma in some people, and may even cause cancer. Carpets present so many problems, the American Lung Association recommends against them. If purchasing new carpeting, some brands are made with non-toxic chemicals, so homeowners should choose wisely. Of course, carpets still trap dust, dirt, pet dander, and other unhealthy particles.

Cleaners

Spray cleaners that are used to clean, disinfect, or polish may actually introduce unhealthy pollutants into the air. Cleaners widely available in grocery stores often contain potent solvents, pesticides, chlorine, or other nasty chemicals. People should choose non-toxic cleaners, which use natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. It’s important for people to be sure they never mix an acid-based cleanser like ammonia or vinegar with a chlorine-based cleanser. This creates the highly-toxic chlorine gas, which no one should breathe in.

Other Sources

There are a few other sources that cause high levels of indoor air pollution. Furniture, cabinets, countertops, shelves, or anything made with pressed wood probably contains formaldehyde. Many types of wood glue contain formaldehyde and its chemical relatives. These are especially harmful because they release small amounts of gas into the air over long periods of time. Since formaldehyde is a well-known respiratory irritant, this may cause long-term problems. People should purchase furniture made without formaldehyde, which is available. Another pollutant people may be unaware of is the kitchen stove, especially a gas range. Cooking on a gas stove may introduce risky levels of nitrogen dioxide into the air. This can trigger asthma attacks or other respiratory problems. Steam from cooking can also create conditions where mold grows unseen. The American Lung Association suggests ventilating the kitchen well in order to prevent these problems.

Improving Indoor Air Quality with HEPA Filters

The American Lung Association has declared HEPA filters the most efficient at removing airborne irritants. Further, according to the Mayo Clinic, “ HEPA filters are more effective in removing allergens from the air, without posing any ozone concerns.” The reason why HEPA filtration is so effective is that it is able to remove 99.97 percent of all particles as small as 0.3 microns, including dust, pet dander, mold spores and attached viruses. For anyone concerned about indoor air quality and breathing clean air, a HEPA air purifier is a healthful, beneficial choice.

Activated Carbon Filters Mean Better Air Quality

Some HEPA air purifiers also include activated carbon filters as part of their systems. Activated carbon provides additional benefits in capturing pollutants. For carbon to be activated, it must undergo a treatment with oxygen, allowing microscopic pores to open on the surface of the carbon. In turn, the pores grab particulate matter and take them out of the air. If you are in an environment plagued by tobacco smoke, chemical fumes and gases, consider an air purifier equipped with activated carbon to help eradicate these toxic pollutants.

We understand the value of peace of mind when it comes to protecting your family’s health. Stop living in fear of the air you breathe. Protect your family today by buying a portable HEPA air purifier.

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Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts at 888.247.1147. We'll be happy to help.


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