Before hosting your next party this holiday season, check your home for these hazardous indoor air pollutants that could be lurking in your air.
The average American spends about 90% or the majority of their lives indoors, consuming 11,000 liters of air per day. With every breath, we inhale the good, the bad, and the ugly – making air quality and purification an essential, crucial step for safeguarding health and well-being.
Poor air quality can lead to respiratory health concerns and symptoms including, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis, heart failure, respiratory infection, and reduced or impaired lung function. Individuals with asthma, heart disease, and COPD, are most affected by poor air quality, making healthy air quality essential to a better quality of life.
Preventing Hazardous Airborne Carcinogen and Pollution Exposure
From spring to fall, families enjoy time outdoors, yet frigid temperatures across the country during the winter months force many to spend more time indoors.
With it being Lung Cancer Awareness Month and considering our previous article on lung health with the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center, we’re sharing some common household carcinogens and airborne pollutants to be aware of this holiday season. Read on to learn what the necessary steps are to safeguarding your home from these hazardous contaminants.
This natural, silicate mineral was used in abundance while building homes throughout the 1930s-1980s. Its fire-resistant properties and ease of use as an additive to a number of building materials such as tiling, flooring, insulation, piping, plaster, asphalt, cement, adhesives, caulking, roofing, shingles, and siding made it common in homes.
Asbestos is generally safe when encapsulated, protected, or when undisturbed or undamaged in any way. Once asbestos fibers become airborne, inhaled, or ingested, however, the fibers can become lodged into the fragile lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, developing mesothelioma with limited life expectancy and poor survival rate. Asbestos also leads to asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural effusion, pleural plaque, pneumothorax, asbestos warts, and more. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
What Can You Do?
Have your home tested for asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. Only remove asbestos with a trained and certified asbestos abatement company to ensure the safe removal process for healthy indoor air quality free of asbestos.
This odorless, colorless gas is developed from the natural breakdown of radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soils, and some cases, well water. Considering how radon is developed, primary routes of exposure to humans are by way of inhalation and ingestion.
Radon gas is often produced and found in the highest concentrations, in homes that have dirt basement floors. The gas is emitted through the ground, through loose foundation cracks or ventilation systems, which enter the indoor air of homes, nationwide. The EPA estimates that one of fifteen homes in the United States have elevated radon levels of 4 pCi/L or more. Prolonged inhalation of such radon levels can lead to lung cancer, known as the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
What Can You Do?
Radon is an environmental health problem nationwide, and the only way to know your home’s radon levels is to have your home tested as recommended by the US EPA, Surgeon General, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, and the National Safety Council. Install a radon scanner and consult with a certified radon mitigation service to ensure what is best for your home.
Indoor air pollution, and in particular, particulate matter, can be any mixture of hazardous solid and liquid particles suspended in the air, consisting of both organic and inorganic particles like dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.
Although particles vary greatly by size, composition, and origin, it’s important to note that when particulate matter is inhaled, it can have adverse effects on the body. Sensitive groups, like people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children, are most likely to face respiratory health concerns including eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, chest tightening, shortness of breath, reduced lung function, irregular heartbeat, asthma attacks, heart attaches, premature death in people with heart or lung disease, and more.
Particulate matter can be a holiday season nuisance! Holiday decorations like artificial trees accumulate dust during storage, irritating those with dust allergies. Decorative candles look nice but oftentimes release dangerous chemicals such as benzene and toluene. These airborne chemicals can cause damage to the brain, lungs, and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental problems.
Keep your family and party guests safe this holiday season with our indoor air quality checklist. To learn more about environmental health concerns, carcinogens, air quality, or our Venta products, check out our other blog posts and follow along on Facebook.