When it comes to assessing the air quality of your home, the EPA has identified five categories that should be tested to make sure you and your loved ones are breathing unpolluted air. There are dangerous levels of pollutants that can invade your home without your knowledge, and some of them you may use on a daily basis. Whether you have infants, family members with immune deficiencies, teenagers with asthma, or pets, each can be affected in detrimental ways should the air quality in your home be contaminated with high levels of toxic air. The construction industry has updated its standards, making homes more environmentally friendly and air tight. However, homeowners need to be more proactive in allowing fresh, clean air into their homes than ever before.
There are many contaminants and pollutants that we will be covering, including carbon monoxide that can cause headaches, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. In high doses, carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal. Another hazardous indoor pollutant are microorganisms such as mold.
Mold is a naturally occurring organism that is unavoidable, especially here in Florida. However, if mold is found growing in excess, or if your residence has had a leak that was not remediated properly, mold can grow to toxic levels and create a dangerous environment for you and your family. Symptoms of mold exposure include stuffy nose, headaches, fatigue and memory loss. Long term exposure can lead to infertility and more serious health complications. Most high levels of mold can be attributed to moisture intrusion and inadequate ventilation.
Let’s take a look at allergen particulates, such as pollen, dust, smoke and pet dander. These also are naturally occurring and inevitable. However, in order to maintain a healthy indoor air quality, there are ways to prevent an abundance of these particulates entering your home. Changing the air filter in your air conditioning system, wiping surfaces with a damp cloth, and using houseplants as natural air purifiers are just a few ways to help improve the indoor air quality. Infectious illnesses such as colds and flu can also be attributed to poor air quality and ventilation.
Americans spend more time indoors than ever before, along with school, daycare, church, the workplace, and enclosed activities. This can lead to unwanted illness and prolonged contamination due to these airborne infections infiltrating air conditioning systems along with recirculation of germs, viruses, and bacteria.
Toxic compounds, or VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), can be found in everyday, unsuspecting items such as carpet, furniture, paint and cleaning supplies. They can produce a toxic environment within your home, and should be considered dangerous at high levels. VOC’s can trigger severe allergic reactions, and cause complications for those who suffer from asthma. Outdoor pollutants can also contribute to poor air quality such as pesticides, herbicides, and natural gases that can make their way into your indoor environment through the soil.
According to the EPA, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. These pollutants are known as silent killers. It is wise to consider an air quality test should you be concerned with the health of those in your home. When purchasing a home, it is highly recommended that you obtain an air quality test by a professional company certified in identifying these dangerous pollutants.