As a typical urbanite, you’re probably thankful to have a home where you can seek refuge from the filthy city air. Inside, you and your family are protected from the elements. Overall, your home is a safe haven where you can breathe easy. Or is it?
Indoor air pollution is a real threat. According to the World Health Organisation, people (especially children) are at a greater risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute respiratory infections due to indoor air pollution. It’s also worth noting that even in developed countries, children five years old and younger are likely to die from an acute respiratory infection. And yes, all of this because of indoor air pollution — a danger that you’re not likely to notice until you actively look for it.
Where It May Originate, And What Dangers Might Lurk
Air conditioners are handy, but dirty ACs are not. Over time, various types of air contaminants can build up inside air conditioners, which can eventually lead to several health conditions. Here’s a recap of what can be lurking in your AC right now, if you haven’t cleaned it up:
- Insecticides and pesticides
- Allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet hair
- Harmful gases from cooking and heating processes
- Smoke fumes
- Radon gas
Allergens like dust mites are troublesome, but can be managed. What’s quite risky is the potential presence of harmful gases, more specifically radon. Radon is a gas that’s formed when uranium in the soil breaks down and seeps into the home via cracks in the foundation. Radon is radioactive and is harmful enough to cause lung cancer.
If you ever thought that household cleaners are quite harmless, think again. A good number of these substances include harmful chemicals, even those which are labelled ‘organic’. For instance, natural citrus scents have been known to react to air particles, producing various types of airborne pollutants. When stowing cleaners away, make sure to store them in an adequately sealed place; or perhaps limit or refrain from using them entirely.
Even carpets aren’t perfectly safe themselves. As much as you love the ‘new carpet smell’, bear in mind that the scent is actually VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emanating from the material. Compounds like toluene, bromine, benzene, styrene and even formaldehyde can be present in your new carpet’s fibres, and it’s a fact that regular exposure to such chemicals are linked to specific physical symptoms. You can count headaches, eye irritation, allergies and light-headedness.
Turn your home into the safe haven it’s supposed to be by following these pieces of advice.