Indoors are safe and sound. Only till they are not. There is so much that goes on within and around your home on a daily basis. The air, weather and several other factors constantly keep on shifting in various measures. And then there is all these elements that keep on being introduced within your home.
They can come from room fresheners, new pets, you from your trip back and even the delivery guy. A lot goes on behind the scenes and sometimes you don’t notice right away. Till it throws a massive wrench in your home safety goals. Air toxicity can also be an indoor phenomenon. You need to keep an eye out for this monster under the bed too.
Let us take a closer look at the various faces of indoor pollution.
The Main Culprits
There are a number of everyday compounds that can alleviate the risk of indoor pollutions. This include mainly the Formaldehyde, Carbon Monoxide, mold and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Starting with mold, it can do tons of damage to not just you but your home too. Its spores can cause serious levels of sneezing, congestion, headaches and other flu-like symptoms. The formation of mold due to extended humidity within your home can release a number of spores in the atmosphere.
These spores can travel with air waves to various corners of your place. They will wreak havoc wherever they settle, just not overnight. Until, one day you open the drawer under the sink and it is full of blooming mushrooms. All variations of mold are toxic and need to be discarded as soon as possible.
It can settle onto the wooden structures and heirlooms to hollow it out from the inside. The best way to deal with them is to invest in some quality dehumidifiers. Keep the bathrooms and other similar areas within your home as well-ventilated as possible.
Pay closer attention during the rainy season. It is better to get the carpets and nooks of the home cleaned once every season. The black mold can seriously bring down the value of your home and cause dangerous levels of toxicity to the current residents.
The odorless and colorless nature of carbon monoxide makes it tricky to track. Its extreme levels of toxicity make it all the more menacing in case of indoor pollution. This is why you need a carbon monoxide detector at your place at all costs.
It accounts for a significant number of deaths each year. It is a slow and stealthy killer. There are usually not many noticeable symptoms in this case for timely and accurate diagnosis. It mainly gets generated from burning fuels.
The exhausts in your homes and vehicles need to be well-regulated. Tobacco smoking, too much exposure to smog in traffic-dense areas, poor quality combustion devices such as furnaces and boilers can becomes a prime source of carbon monoxide over time.
It is advisable to invest in equipment that comply to the EPA emission standards. You can get your vehicles and combustion devices within home annually checked and fixed accordingly. Your place can really benefit by investing in premium quality exhaust fans, especially in areas where fuel burning takes place in any capacity.
There are a lot if items that carry this compound. Formaldehyde is used in textile production, glue, flooring, window glazing, sealants and latex paints among others. It is a known carcinogen and is found as a preservative in tons of things we use on a daily basis. Its damage can get worse when it interacts with other household chemicals.
It can trigger asthma attack even if its present in low concentration. There can be serious irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. This can turn into grave ailments and allergies over time if not treated with caution. Formaldehyde is one of the most common air pollutants today.
There are easy steps to keep its presence away from your home in all forms. You can go for the antique furniture as the formaldehyde release is much lower at the later stages. Stick to objects carved out of solid wood, stainless steel, tile, adobe and bricks.
Look for the label ‘CARB Phase II compliant or TSCA Title VI compliant for formaldehyde emissions’ while buying new wooden installations for your place. Switch to the much safer and formaldehyde-free flooring options such as natural linoleum, U.S. made ceramic tile as well as pre-finished solid and engineered wood.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
These compounds are released at room temperature into our homes. They ca easily be absorbed by the human skin. The most commonly found VOCs around us are benzene, ethylene glycol, 1,3-butadiene, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, formaldehyde, toluene and xylene.
Its exposure is associated with mucous membrane irritation, dizziness, headaches, nausea, ENT troubles. In case of prolonged exposure, this might cause cancer, damage of central nervous system, kidney and liver. These symptoms might vary for different kind of chemicals under the VOC umbrella.
Solutions When Surrounded on All Sides
You can start with doing some sort of spring cleaning for your place on a yearly basis. This activity can be used to discard the leftover paints, varnishes, solvents, adhesives and caulks. Keep the carpet, upholstered furniture and compound wood items away initially to dust off as much VOCs from it as possible far away from your main place of dwelling.
You can get your home well-ventilated if not already so. The worst of VOC release happens during the peak of humidity and heat. Also, it is better to get the renovations done when you can still open the window and not get frozen by the incoming hail. Get a makeshift outhouse that is at a significant distance from your home and store all the leftover cleaning supplies, chemicals and paints there.
These are the main causes of Indoor Pollution in your home that may or may not be choking you.
When was the last time you got your home checked for any of the above compounds? Have you felt any above-mentioned symptoms more frequently lately? Are you doing enough to minimise the levels of indoor pollution in your house? Let us know in the comment section below. Also, forward this article to your friends and family for their added safety.