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Indoor Air Pollution

What is Indoor Air Pollution?

It has been estimated that we spend approximately 90% of our lives indoors, so being aware of indoor air pollution is quite important for the protection of our health. The following are common pollutants to look for:

 

 

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Here are some tips on how to keep your house safe for you and your family.

  • Keep your home well ventilated. Refreshing the air in your home prevents pollutants from building up in the house, and with most pollutants, a smaller concentration is healthier. The ventilation also helps with moisture control.
  • Test your house for radon, especially if it has been found in neighbors' houses. A test kit can be picked up at any Oakland County Health Division for $10.
  • Do not smoke, and if you must, do so outdoors, never in the house. Also consider the affects of any burning in your home, including fireplaces.
  • Put Carbon Monoxide detectors in your home.
  • Perform regular housecleaning activities, including vacuuming. However, when vacuuming, dust mites oftentimes end up in the air, so anyone with asthma or severe allergies should leave the home when it is being vacuumed.
  • Invest in houseplants. Plants filter the air, absorbing Carbon Monoxide, releasing oxygen, and removing some Particulate Matter from the air. Please note however, that they do add moisture to the home and welcome in microorganisms.
  • Properly close and store cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers, bug sprays, etc. and use these products in well ventilated areas only.
  • Minimize the use of products that contain VOCs within the house. Projects containing these products should be completed outdoors. Cars should not be left idling in garages attached to homes.
  • When purchasing new carpet, painting indoors, or bringing any other new materials into the home, make sure to ventilate the area. Ask if carpets can be aired for a day before being delivered to your home.
  • Ensure your home has clean heating and cooling system air filters. This will remove many particulates from the air.
  • If dust, pollen, or pet dander is severely diminishing quality of life, consider purchasing an air purifier or filter. When shopping for one, research the efficiency of the filter (how much pollution it removes from the air) and the amount of air it cleans. You want to maximize both as much as possible. Filters must be maintained, however, to keep the purifier running properly. Also, note that these filters do not remove gaseous pollutants.
  • Consider cleaning your air ducts, particularly if mold has grown or they are clogged with excessive dust. The EPA has suggestions on when to clean air ducts.

 

If you have more questions or concerns about indoor air pollution, please visit the EPA's website on Indoor Air Quality.

 

 

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