We continue to talk about the quality of life and it starts with the air that we breathe. Indoor air is by far more polluted than the air we breathe outdoors. So, it just makes sense to ensure we do everything possible to improve what we take into our lungs when we’re inside whether it’s our home or office. Some signs of potential problems include:
- Odours, stale or stuffy air
- Unvented fossil fuel appliances
- Lack of ventilation, air tight homes
- Presence of mould or mildew
- High humidity
- Poorly maintained central heating or cooling systems
- Feeling better outdoors or away from your home or office. The absence of flu-like symptoms.
- Feeling worse after remodelling or purchasing new furniture, moving into a new home, “winterizing” your home
Common sources of these indoor air quality concerns are:
Moisture, Moulds & Dust Mites – sources can include excessive humidity, drain pans of humidifiers and air conditioners, poor ventilation, animal dander.
Combustion Products – sources can include unvented fossil fuel appliances like kerosene heaters or stoves, back drafting of furnaces and water heaters. By-products of fossil fuel combustion can include Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Formaldehyde, Nitrogen Dioxide, and, Sulphur Dioxide.
Formaldehyde – particleboard, carpets, textiles, furniture, insulation and adhesives.
Asbestos – pipe insulation, mud elbows, fireproofing materials, acoustical tiles, floor tiles, and, siding.
Radon – radioactive gas from the decay of uranium on the soil and rock in and around the foundation, well water, some building materials.
Building & Household Materials – VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) found in paint, solvents, dry cleaning, aerosol sprays, adhesives, room deodorizers
Lead – sources include dinnerware, mini blinds, toys, paint, dust, soil, food cans, antiques, furniture, solder, and, well water. Most recently there have been recalls of baby soothers and toys that have also prompted concerns for pet owners too.
What should you do if you suspect a problem with your indoor air? Inexpensive testing can be done to ascertain the presence of many of these indoor air contaminants.