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Indoor air pollution

It may not seem like a problem in your house. After all, most contaminants aren't even visible. But the negative effects that these intruders may have on your health should be clear for all to see.

How to detect a problem

Do health symptoms improve when you leave home? Do they come back when you return? If so, you may have a problem and should explore the following potential sources:

  • Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
  • Can you see or smell mold or mildew?
  • Is the humidity reg-
    ularly above 50 percent?
  • Are there leaks or
  • standing water anywhere— kitchen, basement, attic?
  • Are all fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces) fully vented to the outdoors?
  • Is there an attached garage or basement where cars, lawnmowers or motorcycles are stored?
  • Are household chemicals, paints or solvents stored indoors or in an attached garage or basement?
  • Have you recently remodeled and painted, or added new furniture and carpeting?
  • Do you use odor-masking chemicals or "air-freshening" devices?
  • Has kitchen or food garbage been covered and removed?
  • Have you used pesticides recently?
  • Do you have indoor pets, or allow outdoor pets inside your home?

In the news...

Why does indoor air quality matter?

According to the American Lung Association of Minn- esota, elements within our home and workplaces have been increasingly recognized as threats to our respiratory health. The most common pollutants are radon, combustion products, biologicals (molds, pet dander, pollen), volatile organic compounds, lead dust and asbestos.

The EPA lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat to our country.

There are an estimated 40 million individuals in the United States who are affected by allergies. Learning how to control a homes environment to reduce allergen levels is important for managing allergies and asthma. Individuals who suffer from asthma, or have other respiratory illness may potentially be at a greater risk for health complications associated with poor air quality in their homes.

The prevalence rate of pediatric asthma has increased from 40.1 to 69.1,—a 72.3 percent increase.

Asthma is the sixth ranking chronic condition in our nation and the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S.

In the house, poor indoor air quality can result in structural rot within the walls and attic and around window framing from excess moisture.

Common pollutants can enter our houses through air leaks in the structure.

Common housing problems or failures that occur in our homes include: musty odors and mold growth, window condensation, structural rot, peeling paint, back-drafting appliances, damp basements and ice dams, or build-up of ice on the roofs edge, and high utility costs.

http://www.lungusa.org/associations/charters/mid-atlantic/air-quality/indoor-air-quality.html

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