Your eyes are burning. You can’t stop sneezing or wheezing. That tickle in the back of your throat prompts continual coughing and you’re at your wit’s end. The problem? You’re not sick and there’s no visible source of your distress.
If this sounds at all familiar, there’s a pretty good chance you’re dealing with a covert villain within the confines of your home: airborne pollution.
But if you aren’t familiar with types of indoor air pollution or where they come from, don’t worry! We’re here to clear the air regarding three major indoor air pollutants you may be exposed to, as identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
#1 – Biological Pollutants
Biological pollutants are airborne contaminants that are both generated and spread by plants, animals, people, and other living organisms.
Specifically, the most common biological pollutants are:
- Viruses and bacteria
- And more
“By controlling the relative humidity level in a home, the growth of some sources of biologicals can be minimized,” the EPA explains. “Standing water, water-damaged materials or wet surfaces also serve as a breeding ground for molds, mildews, bacteria and insects.”
Some biological pollutants — like pollen — may trigger allergic reactions or exacerbate upper respiratory conditions in certain individuals, such as those with asthma.
Other contaminants, however, may sometimes prove more hazardous, such as mold exposure.
#2 – Chemical Pollutants
Chemical pollutants are more common in the air of both commercial and residential properties than some may realize. After all, it is the items that are found within a given space that may emit such dangerous gases.
Specifically, we’re talking about volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
“VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects,” according to the EPA’s explanation on VOCs’ impact on indoor air quality. “Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.”
Common VOC-emitting products, as listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), include but are not limited to:
- Air fresheners
- Cleaning products
- Caulks and sealants
- Vinyl flooring
- And more
Some of the best methods to mitigate exposure to the aforementioned include storing these items outside of the home, ensuring they are properly secured, and/or finding safer alternatives for each product.
#3 – Combustion Pollutants
Combustion pollutants are the result of the burning process and may either make their way indoors from outside sources (like tobacco smoke, car exhaust, and general air pollution) or be generated by burning materials within the home.
Gas stoves, space heaters, dryers, and fireplaces are all major sources of combustion pollutants within the home, particularly if there is inadequate or impeded ventilation of the aforementioned appliances.
“The common fuels burned in these appliances are natural or LP gas, fuel oil, kerosene, wood, or coal,” the EPA explains. “The types and amounts of pollutants produced depend upon the type of appliance, how well the appliance is installed, maintained, and vented, and the kind of fuel it uses.”
All that being said, regardless of whether your property is contaminated by biological, chemical, or combustion pollutants, one danger remains the same: you may not be aware they are present.
But that’s why Discreet Air Quality offers top-of-the-line environmental consulting services — because your health and safety are our priority! Not only do we offer service packages that involve certified indoor air quality assessments, moisture and mold assessments, and more, but we also offer you trusted results with reliable guidance.