The Main Indoor Air Pollutants in Your Home

September 21, 2019
Your home can be a major health risk due to indoor air pollution, if you don't do daily cleaning and upkeep.

Do you feel like your house is completely sanitary? You may not realize it, but most of us are constantly producing waste, grime, and trash with our lifestyles. That can turn into a major health problem. That’s why we wanted to dedicate an article to the main indoor air pollutants in your home. 

There’s constant pollution in the environment. But it’s not just from big factories or farms. In our homes, most of us are producing waste that’s actually toxic to human health. What that means is that we’re all living alongside waste products that can cause long term health issues.

This is what makes it so important to understand what specific substances play a part in indoor air pollution. They can lead to health problems, and also bring your quality of life at home way down. For example, you may develop allergies, inhale a toxic chemical, or develop an infection. 

Is the air you breathe pure?

This is a question you probably hear all the time in terms of the air quality in a city or the countryside. It has become even more common since we’ve realized just how polluted our atmosphere is. But have you ever asked yourself if the air in your home is healthy?

You probably think the answer to that question is yes. However, there are lots of things in the home that could become a problem for your lungs. The first of those is easy to guess – tobacco. If you smoke cigarettes, you’re producing a lot of smoke, and even your furniture will start to smell of it.

Synthetic fragrances are another potential issue. They may smell wonderful, but inhaling them every day, and to an abusive level, can actually be really bad for you. This is true for both air fresheners and bug sprays if they were made with chemicals.

Try to air your home every single day. It’s vital that you have fresh air coming in to oxygenate your rooms. 

Indoor air pollutants in the home

Cleaning products

Although these are all products you use to clean and disinfect your home, they can also be harmful to you if you use them incorrectly. Of course, some can be more harmful than others, and by frequently exposing yourself to them, you could be doing some serious damage to your body, especially your skin.

  • Bleach is a definite thing to watch out for–it can do a lot of damage. If you’re in contact with it every day, it can cause anything from irritation to severe rashes.
  • Ammonia is also a big risk if you’re using a lot of it, and frequently. If you use it only occasionally, and in small amounts, there shouldn’t be any major issues. However, it can be extremely corrosive to the skin, and can even harm your lungs because of the fumes it produces.
  • Oven cleaning products are another big one to watch out for. In this case, the main problem is that when you’re cleaning your oven, you have to get down and have your head nearly inside the oven, which puts you in direct contact with the fumes from the products. Wear a mask whenever using these products.
  • You also need to be careful with glass cleaners. They may seem harmless because they don’t have a strong smell, but they can also damage your skin and cause some irritation.

Construction materials

When you hire a contractor or construction company for your home just to save some money, it can have serious consequences. This is a good reason to choose companies with a quality guarantee in terms of the materials they’ll use.

This also applies to the furniture or the paint you use on the walls. If they aren’t made with products accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization), then you should avoid them. Otherwise, they could cause severe long-term health effects.

One of the most well-known indoor air pollutants in recent years is asbestos. It used to be very common in buildings until we realized that it could be toxic to human health and cause serious issues.

If you’re going to re-model your home, make sure you hire a quality company with good references. 

The most common natural indoor air pollutants

But manufactured chemicals aren’t the only indoor air pollutants you need to worry about in your home. We also need to talk about mites, parasites, mildew, and other natural allergens. 

Any of the things on that list can cause health problems. If you have pets, you’ll have to make sure you keep them clean and well-cared for so that no parasites can get into your home.

As for fungi like mold and mildew, the main areas to worry about are ones exposed to moisture and humidity. These are places ripe for fungi to grow. As always, keep up good cleaning standards, and if necessary, buy a dehumidifier.

Now that you’ve learned more about indoor air pollutants, try to limit your exposure to them. There are lots of natural alternatives, and for those that are unavoidable, simply make sure you wear gloves, a mask, and don’t use them too frequently.

  • Tabero, Pepa: Manual de la casa limpia y ordenada, La Esfera, 2016.