Indoor Air Pollutants: 5 Common Surprising Sources

You may be shocked to learn about all the pollutants that are affecting the air quality inside your home. Not only are there germs, bacteria and viruses in your indoor air supply, but there may also be formaldehyde. How did formaldehyde get inside your home’s indoor air? The surprising answer is that there may be more than one source. One common source is your mattress. Another may be your furniture – especially wood furniture with varnish. When it comes down to it, learning about all the sources of indoor air pollutants is important, because with that knowledge you can start taking measures to prevent and stop the pollutants. When it comes down to it, many of these pollutants are actually carcinogenic. Here are five common surprising sources of indoor air pollutants.

  1. Formaldehyde is from off-gassing of your mattress. There are current laws in place that force mattress makers to use flame-retardants in the manufacturing process – this is a result of legislation passed to protect smokers who fall asleep in bed. However, the number of habitual smokers has significantly decreased and fires as a result of falling asleep with a cigarette in hand have waned. Now, though, mattresses enter a process called off-gassing as a result of the chemicals inside the flame retardant, which sends formaldehyde into the air. When you get a new mattress, it is important to let the mattress spend some time airing out – preferably in a basement with windows cracked open.
  2. Your air purifier is releasing lung scarring ozone particulates. That’s right, one of the most common indoor air pollutants is actually coming from your air purifier – the very air purifier you purchased to improve the air inside your home. Of course, not all air purifiers use ozone, but the ones that do, you want to avoid at all costs. Ozone is a major component in smog and it can trigger asthma attacks and it can scar lung tissue.
  3. The cleaners you use to polish and disinfect. The household cleaner market is enormous – largely because many of the products on the market work wonders when it comes to making your windows look sparkling clean. However, these cleaners work their magic at the cost of your health and well-being. Many of these cleaners emit toxic particulates that can make you sick. This is why you want to go for more eco-friendly cleaners – ones that don’t have harmful particulates.
  4. Your stove is releasing nitrogen dioxide. Just like carbon monoxide can be dangerous, so can concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. This is a harmful and toxic gas that gets released when you cook on your stove – namely a gas stove. This gas can cause asthma attacks and other breathing difficulties. This is why it is important to turn on your vent hood when you are cooking.
  5. Your walls are releasing volatile organic compounds. If you just painted your walls, you may have that fresh paint smell wafting throughout your home. However, this familiar smell is actually toxic. When you paint, small particulates – known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs – are being released into the air. If you want to avoid polluting the air inside your home with VOCs, you may want to think of going for low VOC paint – it is better for your health and for the environment.

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