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Removing Common Household Air Pollutants

While we often think of air pollution as a problem for nature and the environment, it’s not limited to great outdoors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports “indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks.” From pollen and dander to tobacco smoke and gas cooking stoves, our homes are filled with air pollutants that can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. Learn about the different airborne particles that can affect your health, and find out ways to reduce their presence in your home so you can breathe easy.

Common Household Air Pollutants

Allergens
Sniffling, sneezing, stuffed-up nose, itchy-watery eyes; for allergy sufferers, these symptoms can be a part of daily life. When the seasons change, a flood of common allergens are released.
Dander and pet allergens
Pet allergies are often blamed on a cat or dog’s hair, when in fact; pet hair is not an allergen. The proteins found in dander and saliva are the actual culprits. These proteins are released in saliva and from skin glands, so when skin and fur is licked, it’s getting a second dose of the protein, which dries and then is shed off in the form of dander.
Dust mites
Tiny eight-legged relatives of the spider and tick, dust mites have no eyes or respiratory system. Too tiny to see with the naked eye, a mite is less than half a millimeter—ranging from one quarter to one third of a millimeter in size.
Mold and mold spores
Molds are microscopic organisms that belong to the fungi kingdom, so they are neither plant nor animal. When mold reproduces; its seed-like spores are a mere 3 to 40 microns in size — invisible to the naked eye. Molds keep the natural world livable by decomposing leaves, wood, and other plant debris.
Pollen
Pollen is made of very tiny grains and it usually looks like a fine yellow dust. And that’s how it got its name; in Latin, pollen means “fine powder.” The fertilizing element of a flowering or conifer plant, pollen carries the cells that enable a plant to reproduce. Called pollination, it’s responsible for the growth of apples, oranges and other fruits — without pollination, trees couldn’t grow fruit.
Smoke
The dictionary describes smoke as, “a visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.” In addition to several known carcinogens, smoke contains fine particles composed of wood tars, gases, soot, and ashes.

INDOOR AIR POLLUTION: THE GREAT OVERLOOKED HEALTH HAZARD - HOW CLEANING YOUR AIR CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Indoor air can be two to 10 times more toxic than outdoor air
  • Poor air quality is to blame for up to 2 million premature deaths yearly
  • Side-stream smoke is more toxic than second hand smoke
  • Over half of all reported disease are caused or worsened by toxic indoor air, including tobacco smoke

INDOOR AIR QUALITY IS IMPORTANT

While commonly overlooked as an issue, indoor air quality can drastically impact our health with every breath we take. Fortunately, common indoor air pollutants like dust mites, pollen and mold can be controlled.

  • Indoor air quality can be improved via source removal, air cleaning and increased ventilation
  • Controlling exposure to indoor allergens can prevent up to 65% of asthma cases in children
  • Keeping your furnace or air conditioner filters up to date, and using a reasonably priced air purifier, can drastically improve the quality of your indoor air.

WHERE YOU LIVE IMPACTS THE AIR FILTER YOU NEED

Just because the sky outside your home looks clear and blue, does not mean that the air is clean. Smog isn’t necessarily visible, but its hazards are still very much real and present. For the last 16 years the American Lung Association has published their State of the Air report, which presents analyzed data from official air quality monitors. Among the data, ZIP-code level details about air quality. An import different lesson in how the air we breath can vary not only from city to city, but within parts of your own. The health risks are dependent on factors ranging from:

  • Proximity to smokestacks or highways
  • Presence of raw materials needed to create “smog,” including tailpipes and smokestacks
  • Size of particles present in the air, from fine organic compounds smaller than 2.5 microns to dust, pollen or mold spores that can be as large as 10 microns

When determining what type of air filter you need, experts recommend you to visit the American Lung Association’s State of the Air website to get an idea of the types and amount of impurities in your air.

CONSIDER THE HEALTH OF THOSE IN YOUR HOME

Air quality can impact residents in your home differently, and sometimes severely. And allergies, suffered yearly by 50 million Americans according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, are just one type of health concern. Indoor air polluted with dust, pet dander, second-hand smoke, smog or more is responsible for a myriad of health issues from mild headaches and eczema to chronic asthma and even lung cancer. For allergy sufferers, and people more susceptible to poor air quality like seniors, the very young or the sick, health issues can be significantly amplified.

FINDING A SOLUTION

The best way to address the risk of indoor air pollution is to control or eliminate the sources of pollutants. By employing the air-cleaning abilities of an air filter installed in your heating and cooling system, you can significantly improve the quality of your home’s air. Add in a stand-alone air purifier with HEPA-level filtering, and you remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. By taking control of the levels of airborne particles, you can rest easy knowing your air is clean and safe.

GET ADVICE

For additional information about specific allergens, visit AIR POLLUTANTS, and check out TYPES OF AIR FILTERS for recommendations on how to remove allergens from your home’s air.