Keeping a Healthy Home – Air Quality

— Written By Courtney Tevepaugh
en Español / em Português

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Our society is spending more time inside than ever before, the average person will spend 80-90% of their lives indoors. Indoor air pollution is a cause for concern especially among older adults, young children, immune compromised individuals, and people with allergies. Improving the air quality of the home is important for all who are living there and can make a significant difference in the health of those individuals. In order to keep the air healthy in your home, one must understand the contaminants in the air and how to prevent them.

Common Air Pollutants and How to Address the Problems

Biological contaminants can come from problems like humid air leading to buildup of mold and bacteria in your home. Radon is another issue, a soil gas that can build up in homes causing lung cancer. Keep soil under the home dry, and ensure rainwater flows away from the foundation. Other simple prevention methods include: utilizing exhaust fans, dehumidifiers and HEPA vacuum cleaners, wash bedsheets regularly and invest in washable area rugs.

Combustion pollutants come from things like fuel during appliances, that create carbon monoxide and other harmful pollutants. These can build-up indoors if the appliances are not well ventilated. Some ways to prevent build-up of combustion pollutants include: keeping gas heaters and appliances correctly adjusted, never use kerosene heaters indoors, get a carbon monoxide alarm for your home.

Organic Gases and Pesticides – Common household products can contain both natural and artificial chemicals which can create volatile-organic-compound (VOC) gasses in your air. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on any chemical substance in your home. Shop for less toxic products, labeled as low VOC.

Lead and asbestos can be found in many homes built before 1960. Although floor tiles manufactured as recently as 1986 could contain asbestos. Any kind of damage to those materials can put lead and asbestos into the air. You can find out if a home has any lead-based paint of asbestos before remodeling by contacting professional services – North Carolina Certified Lead Professionals, North Carolina Accredited Asbestos Disciplines.

This information is based from NC State Extension Publication – Indoor Air Quality in Your Home. Visit the publication for further information.

Find more information on keeping a healthy home with the following NC State Extension resources.


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