In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) it is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans are sickened by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and approximately 500 die, many of these deaths occur in the home.
The good news is that it is possible to significantly reduce the impact from potentially life threatening indoor pollutants by introducing relatively inexpensive features that will improve indoor air quality within your home.
What pollutants can you find at home
There are several potentially dangerous indoor air pollutants that all homeowners should be aware of. Due to media coverage, some of these pollutants are better know to us than others, like Carbon Monoxide. And, some lesser known but equally as dangerous ones like Radon and Nitrogen Dioxide.
Other internal pollutants includes secondhand tobacco smoke, lead particles – lead was present in all paints until it was banned in 1978. However, homes are still at risk from lead particles that can enter the home attached to airborne dust particles.
Asbestos was a common building material due to its heat resistant properties but was banned in the 1980s since the health risk was identified. However, older properties may still contain some asbestos materials.
Mold may also be present in the home, especially in older properties or if you have suffered any type of water damage. Some forms of mold can give off spores that have potential health consequences.
Extending your property or thinking of a new kitchen
If you are having work done on your home this is the ideal time to consider how design and technology can improve your interior air quality. And, this is the time to think ventilation. This can be anything from individual extractor fan systems to house wide extraction systems. Whichever solution you opt for, ventilation will improve your household air quality. Most homes are fitted with smoke detectors but you can also purchase Carbon Monoxide and Radon detectors. These will alert you immediately if the presence of these silent killers are detected.
Simple ways to improve indoor air quality.
Rethink the interior design of your home. This does not have to be financially challenging, indeed it is often the simpler things that can be most effective. Some of the very latest innovations that you can consider for your interior design options can include organic fabrics, use paints that are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that are now more widely available; carpets and rugs made from vegetable dye; and formaldehyde free cabinets.
Secondhand smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, including carcinogenic agents. In addition to the health risks secondhand smoke also damages paintwork, walls and ceilings.
And, there are simple improvements that you can introduce immediately at nil or minimal cost but can deliver big improvements including; remove shoes at the front door. This will reduce the amount of chemicals, pollen, dirt and dust brought into your home. If you have a porch this is the ideal place to remove shoes; stop everyone from smoking indoors.
Keep your home clean to improve indoor air quality.
Ensure walls and floors are cleaned regularly. Consider investing in a hoover with built in HEPA filter that reduces pollen, pet dander and smoke particles. And, introduce house plants and increase ventilation. Plants reduce harmful gases from the air and increases oxygen levels. Ferns and spider plants are inexpensive and easily maintained. Allow as much air as possible to flow through your home by keeping windows open when the house is occupied. Discover more about building eco friendly homes.
The home is full of hidden dangers. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to understand what these dangers are and how the potential impact to our health can be reduced. This does not have to be a time consuming or costly. Some simple and quick home maintenance routines can be introduced with little effort to improve indoor air quality.