You might feel safe and secure inside your home, but did you know that the air quality behind closed doors is often worse than outside? If that’s not concerning enough, many of the health effects caused by indoor air pollutants are experienced years after the initial exposure has occurred. Respiratory diseases, heart disease and even some cancers can arise due to poor indoor air quality, which is why eliminating any indoor air contaminants as soon as possible is essential to everyone’s long-term health. Read on to learn about the most common air quality contaminants.
VOCs, short for volatile organic compounds, are gases that are emitted from a variety of chemical solids and liquids. The most common products that contain VOCs include paints, paint strippers, solvents, wood preservatives, dry-cleaning chemicals, building materials, furnishings, carpets, craft materials, and office supplies. The problem with VOCs is that they emit gas slowly, releasing pollutants steadily into the air causing health effects such as nausea, dizziness, skin reactions, liver damage, kidney and central nervous damage and certain cancers, depending on the level of exposure.
Another problematic air quality contaminant is carbon monoxide – the odourless, colourless, toxic gas. At low concentrations, fatigue and chest pain will develop, eventually leading to vision impairment, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. Higher levels of contamination can result in reduced brain function and even death. It can literally kill you before you even know you’ve been exposed, which is why it’s important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home at all times. Checking your combustion equipment and appliances often is the best way to prevent accidental exposure. This includes inspecting your gas ranges, unvented gas or kerosene heaters, boilers, furnaces, and other gasoline-powered equipment you use in your home.
This mixture of suspended solid and liquid particles generated through cooking, combustion activities and even our favourite hobbies can impact one’s health if inhaled. Exposure to inhalable particles can affect both lungs and your heart and cause numerous health problems if the particles get into the bloodstream. Those with asthma, heart, respiratory and lung disease are at greater risk of developing serious health issues.
Our furry best friends can also impact our air quality and overall health. Since pet dander is extremely light, it can stay airborne for a substantial amount of time. Once inhaled, it can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs and even affect the respiratory system.
Mold is another contaminant that can easily disperse in the air causing serious health concerns. Often found in areas with excessive humidity, condensation and moisture, once mold starts to grow it can quickly spread. Once the spores and mycelial fragments are dispersed in the air and inhaled, they penetrate into the lungs leading to serious inflammatory issues and toxic properties.
As a chemical used to manufacture building materials and household products, formaldehyde can also be present both indoors and outdoors. Commonly found in glues, paints, lacquers, coatings, fabric softeners, fertilizers and pesticides, as well as building materials and insulation, everyone is exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde every day. High levels of exposure can lead to serious eye, nose and throat issues.
How to Get Rid of Air Quality Contaminants?
To minimize your exposure to mold, pet dander and other harmful airborne particulates, having proper ventilation and getting your ducts cleaned regularly are the easiest ways to keep airborne contaminants at bay.
Are you concerned about your indoor air quality? Contact us at Power Vac of Ottawa and we’ll give your vents and ducts a good cleaning, removing any of the above airborne contaminants that could negatively impact your health.