9 Most Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Every adult should be aware that pollutants are all around us. And every day, we are taking them into our body as there is only so much we can do to avoid them.

While you can stop yourself from drinking water when you think that it’s contaminated, there is little you can do with polluted air as you have to breathe whatever the case.

However, knowing how much harmful pollutants might exist in the air you breathe could motivate you to take action in reducing your exposure.

In major environmental catastrophes concerning the air, authorities often advise the general public to stay indoors. So for some reason, a lot of people think that the air in the house is cleaner and healthier than the air outside.

This cannot be further from the truth.

There is almost an infinite about of space for air to dissipate outdoors. While there is only so much space for air to move about in an enclosed area like a house. And let’s not forget that a lot of home appliances at home emit their own pollutants into the air.

Studies have shown that indoor air quality can be five times worse off than outdoor in terms of pollutants. A huge reason why air purifiers are surging in demand.

Here are the most common air pollutants found at home.

1) Bacteria

Bacteria and viruses can be airborne waiting for a chance to strike. I myself can recall a few instances when I fell sick the next day after sharing space with someone who was obviously sick and sneezing.

But other than people who are not feeling well, there are worse sources of bacteria.

Humidifiers and vaporizers for example, need regular cleaning. The contents must be emptied, and containers disinfected regularly to prevent it becoming a shopping mall for bacteria.

If possible, hot water can be used to kill harmful germs and bacteria. Do examine your device to see whether it can withstand the heat before doing this.

Cooling and heating systems can also be a hotbed for bacteria.

Bacteria don’t just find these systems conducive to reside in. But they also get a boost in moving about the house to find someone to settle on.

This is one of the underrated reasons why these systems should be maintained regularly.

2) Dust mites

Dust mites are invisible to the human eye. It’s not that they are made of UV light. It just that they are simply too tiny for our eyes to see.

They feed on shed human skin and thrive at a humidity level of about 70% and are most concentrated in bedrooms, or anywhere with upholstered furniture. This is why high end pillow cases and bedsheets often advertise themselves as anti-dustmite.

If you have pets at home, note that dust mites also feed food on animal dander.

A room needs to be aired regularly and bedsheets washed just as often to eradicate this problem.

Any furniture with fabric like the sofa or carpet can be a place for dust mites to settle.

3) Mold

Mold has found a way to colonize everywhere. And they need moisture to thrive.

The spores they release into the air can cause many respiratory symptoms. This is why they are a particular health hazard to those who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma.

Any place at home with moisture is a possible area for mold to grow.

They also product mycotoxins that are linked to serious diseases that compromise the immune system.

When cleaning up or basically removing mold, remember to wear a mask that protects you from it.

4) Radon

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is naturally released from soil.

It is known to be a cause for lung cancer.

DIY test kits can be easily bought at hardware stores. And if you find that your house has a high level of it, do call in the professionals for remedy.

5) Asbestos

A lot of households are living with asbestos as it is a material that is commonly used for construction before the 1970s.

But living with it in the house without posing any health concerns is possible as long as the structures containing them are not disturbed.

Inhaling asbestos particles is what the problem is.

If you find fixtures or structures containing asbestos at home, please seek professional help. This is a task that a regular homeowner should not undertake himself.

6) Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct or burning.

Everything in the house that has a hint of burning like the stove, microwave, heaters, lamps, etc, can give out carbon monoxide.

The scary part of this odorless gas is that we can be inhaling it in large quantities without even know it.

People are documented to have died from carbon monoxide inhalation while sleeping at home and in the car.

So please take this seriously.

7) Metals

You might be surprised to find that metal can be suspended in the air.

But lead and mercury in the air has been a serious problems for years.

Lead is most commonly found in lead-based paint that was in circulation in a massive scale throughout the country until the late 1970s. So if your house was built during that period, there is every possibility that you have lead-based paint in the house.

When in doubt, get a sample test kit from the store and test for it’s presence at home.

Mercury is another metal that can cause serious health problems. They are most often found in home due to industrial emissions.

But consumer products can also contain mercury. The typical thermometer is a good example. However, the mercury in products like these won’t be a concern unless it breaks and it’s vapor is released into the air.

8) Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

VOCs are carbon based chemicals that transforms into a vapor state in room temperature.

These tiny chemical particles detach themselves from consumer products over time and offgas into the air.

They can be found in almost every corner of the house including the carpets, wood paneling, detergents, aerosol sprays, pesticides, mattresses, printers, toothpaste, etc.

9) Ventilation system

The most silent of killers are things that are supposed to bring benefits yet do the complete opposite.

An example is carbon filters meant to remove contaminants in water. Users who don’t install them properly or don’t change them regularly make these products as good as non-existent.

In worse cases, they might even make matters worse.

You ventilation system has the job of ventilating the house. If it is not working well or becomes the source of pollutants, you are making yourself a very vulnerable target for pollutants.

So do ensure that you conduct regular checks and do regular maintenance to keep it working properly… the way it’s supposed to.