As parents, we try to protect our children from the dangers of pollution – – second hand smoke, smog, ozone and chemicals. We buy air purifiers, lead free candles and green cleaning products for our homes to make sure that our children have clean air inside even though we cannot make sure they have clean air outside. However, the Environmental Protection Agency states that the air indoors can be more seriously polluted than the air outdoors. Compounding this problem is the fact that indoor pollutants come from a variety of sources the combine in a confined space, your home, where you spend the majority of your time. Below are five uncommon sources of indoor air pollution and suggestions for reducing indoor pollution from these sources.
Five Uncommon Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
1. Kitchen Stove – I was shocked to realize that my kitchen stove could be a source of pollution in my home. Cooking on a stove, especially a gas stove, can release unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide. Furthermore, the steam released from cooking can penetrate surfaces and case mold to grow. The solution to both of these indoor air pollutants is to ventilate the stove so that exhaust is carried outside through vents and use these exhaust vents every time you cook.
2. Formaldehyde is another source of indoor air pollution that is harmful but avoidable. Sources of formaldehyde can include cabinets, countertops, furniture and other items constructed of pressed wood because the glue in these items contains formaldehyde. The simple solution is to avoid pressed wood unless you are absolutely certain it does not contain any formaldehyde products. The best solution is to buy organic, green furnishings and products for your home.
3. Air purifiers are designed to reduce indoor air pollution, correct. That is what we are made to believe if we accept the advertisements from the manufacturers of air purifiers. However, if your air purifier produces ozone you are polluting the air in your home rather than cleaning it. Ozone is a major component of smog and can trigger asthma attacks, cause coughing and can even lead to permanent damage. Do not buy air purifiers that generate ozone. You can see a list of air cleaners to avoid that was generated by the California Environmental Protection Agency.
5. I did not realize how much dirt our carpets harbored until we removed them to install laminate flooring. I thought we kept our carpets extremely clean; however, dirt, pet danger, dust and other particles become lodged in the carpet that nothing short of professional cleaning can remove. This alone makes carpets a source of indoor pollution that can irritate asthma and allergies. However, the chemicals used to manufacture carpets can give off pollutants. Formaldehyde is the most common pollutant caused by carpets and can cause cancer, trigger asthma and cause other lung damage. The solution is to install organic, green flooring when possible. If this is not possible, purchase a HEPA vacuum to reduce pollution in your home.