Eight Surprising Places that Might Have Poor Indoor Air Quality

Just how polluted is the air in all of your favorite places? Whether it’s a salon, your gym, or a hotel, be on the lookout for poor indoor air quality.

There are so many places we frequent each day that boast relaxation, beauty, health, wellness, style, and companionship. Yet, it may become a shock that these places contain allergens, toxins, and airborne pathogens. Here are eight surprising places with possible poor indoor air quality:

1. Hotels

Doors opening and closing, miscellaneous toxins being thrust into the air… hotels are ripe with unknown elements, most of which you cannot control. While your home away from home is chock-full of amenities, the indoor air quality remains questionable.

2. Hair salons

Various chemical treatments are used in hair salons, unless you opt for a more green approach, making plant-based, organic, and non-toxic materials the preferred product for establishments who are looking for a healthier alternative to beauty.

3. Nail salons

Time spent getting your nails done means a perfect manicure and exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like solvents and chemicals. The inhalation of dust that is produced during the fingernail filing process can also wreak havoc on your respiratory system.

4. Historic homes

Vintage homes are catching the eye of DIYers around the globe, making improvement easy and many times, worth the investment. But lurking beyond the gorgeous floorboards that simply need a little refinishing, mixed into old caulk from the 1970s, or seeping from the quaint foundation can be toxic elements like asbestos, mold, lead, and radon.

5. The gym

Germs, for sure, but beyond airborne pathogens like the common cold and the flu, mold is often found thriving in this moist environment. Saunas and locker rooms are breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi that often impair breathing, especially if you have asthma.

6. Pet stores

Dogs, cats, bunnies, ferrets, and birds all shed dander. In fact, any furry or feathery animal has the potential of spreading skin flakes and because these allergens easily stick to clothing, dander is the gift that keeps on giving even when you leave the pet store.

Beyond air quality, the risk of being infected by a parasite like ascarids and hookworms in a pet store with subpar cleanliness increases when a handler fails to wash his hands. Cat parasites infect people with toxoplasma and according to the United States Center for Disease Control, “Kittens and young cats can shed millions of parasites in their feces for as long as 3 weeks after infection.”

7. Antique shops/flea markets

If you have ever taken a stroll through an antique shop or flea market, a common theme along with the nostalgia of old items could very well be dust.

8. The pool

Indoor pools, to be exact, are abuzz with chemical reactions happening right under our noses. A disinfectant chemical needed to eliminate “organic matter” (like bacteria, sweat, dead skin, urine), chlorine eventually becomes a byproduct of gas-producing that distinct  “pool smell.” The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “Breathing small amounts of chlorine for short periods of time adversely affects the human respiratory system. Effects range from coughing and chest pain to water retention in the lungs.”

How surprised are you with this list? Does this change your outlook on visiting these places on a daily basis?