You depend on your home to serve as a safe place for your family. However, your home may not be as safe as you think it is. Poor indoor air quality poses a health risk to you and your family and, if ignored, may lead to severe complications in the future.
Poor indoor air quality is caused by the accumulation of airborne contaminants that have gotten trapped inside your home. These contaminants can come from you, your pets, things from inside or outside your house, or even your house itself.
Which harmful elements can be commonly found in the air of your home? What type of health risks do they pose? To answer these questions, we’ve provided this comprehensive list:
1. Dust particles: Household dust is made from a combination of skin particles, carpet and upholstery fibres, and elements that come from outside your house. Dust in the air of your home can irritate eyes, throat and skin, and can cause long-term respiratory and cardiovascular health problems.
2. Pollen: Pollen is a process of plant pollination and occurs seasonally throughout the year. People allergic to pollen may experience wheezing, itching, a runny nose, and watery or itchy eyes. Pollen may lead to asthma symptoms.
3. Pet dander: Your household dog or cat sheds tiny skin particles that linger in the air of your home. Just as with dust and pollen, dander can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, and may further lead to respiratory problems.
4. Mildew & mold: Standing water caused by hidden leaks may lead to a growth of mold and mildew in your home. These can cause wheezing, nasal and sinus congestion, headaches as well as eye, nose and throat irritation.
5. Dust mites: These microscopic creatures are commonly found in homes and tend to live in your bedding. Mild reactions include a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing; severe cases may involve persistent sneezing, coughing, or a severe asthma attack.
6. Asbestos: Popularly used until the 1970s, this building material is a known human carcinogen that can cause severe harm once trapped in your lungs. Long-term exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma; it can also cause diseases like asbestosis and pleura, both of which can lead to reduced respiratory function and death.
7. Radon: This carcinogenic gas can enter your home through foundation cracks and holes, or through building materials. When breathed into your lungs, radon decays into radioactive particles that may cause cancer. According to Health Canada, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
8. Formaldehyde & volatile organic compounds: VOCs originate from household items that can be commonly found throughout the house. These include: cleaning supplies, perfume, hair spray, paints, lacquers, varnishes as well as copying and printing machines. These dangerous chemicals can cause short-term symptoms like shortness of breath, headaches, and eye, nose and throat irritation, and may cause organ and brain damage in high concentrations.
9. Combustion by-products: These gases and particles are a result of incomplete fuel burning. Their source of origin in the home include: wood-burning stoves, furnaces, gas stoves, fireplaces, cigarette smoke, and car exhaust coming from an attached garage. Combustion by-products like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide can cause symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, nausea, flu-like symptoms, and dizziness. Very high levels of carbon monoxide exposure can cause unconsciousness or death.
10. Bacteria & viruses: These pathogens can get into your home through open windows and doors, from being tracked onto clothes and shoes, or be introduced by an infected host. A short list of airborne diseases include COVID-19 (coronaviruses), the common cold, the flu, measles, whooping cough (pertussis), and tuberculosis (TB).
Poor indoor air poses a danger to human health. If you don’t do anything about it, you could be putting your family at risk.
Are you and your family at risk? Discover the true air quality in your home by scheduling a Home Assessment Test with Healthy Home Makeovers!
Get a 90-minute, multi-point inspection that thoroughly inspects any location for harmful environmental factors that could negatively impact human health. Contact us today!