Indoor air quality is often contaminated with outdoor pollutants and is “an increasingly more concerning health hazard than outdoor air,” (Wikipedia) as much as five times more polluted than outdoor air even in the largest cities. Some of the reasons or causess of our poor indoor air quality include; building fumes, cooking, paints, tobacco smoke, and cleaning products.
Martin Wolfe, Seventh Generation’s “Scienceman,” measured pollution levels in several Los Angeles locations including the side of a freeway, behind a natural-gas powered bus, inside private homes, and more. The result: The outside air in LA is twice as good for you as the air inside your home.
VOC Meter Readings (in parts per billion or ppb)
10 – 100 ppb = Clean Air
100 – 1000 ppb = Dirty Air
above 1000 ppb = Gas Mask Recommended
VOC Meter Readings Around Los Angeles, California
56 ppb – Downtown LA
23 ppb – Downtown Intersection LA
20 ppb – Natural Gas City Bus
6200 ppb – Inside a Nail Salon
26 ppb – Average Outside Air (2x as good as the two homes tested)
Common Pollutants Present in Indoor Air:
- Radon - Radon is a very pervasive and serious hazard found in indoor air in the United States and Europe. It’s probably responsible for tens of thousands of deaths from lung cancer each year.
- Molds and Other Allergens – Associated with moisture, mold growth can be inhibited by keeping the humidity levels below 50%.
- Carbon Monoxide – This colorless, odorless gas is one of the most toxic indoor air contaminants. Common sources include tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust and space heaters using fossil fuels.
- Volatile Organic Compounds – VOCs are emitted through paints, cleaning supplies and pesticides to name a few.
- Asbestos Fibers – Found in older homes and buildings, asbestos was widely used in construction and long exposure can lead to an increased chance of lung cancer.
- Carbon Dioxide – Unusually high levels of carbon dioxide in your home can lead to drowsiness and headaches.
Some of the best ways to help improve the air quality in your home include ventilation, filtration and source control. Here are some great products that might help you breathe easier when you are spending about 90% of your time indoors.
Studies show that within three hours of operation, the mold particles in the air are reduced by over 70% thanks to this LightAir Ion Flow Air Purifier. Energy efficiency at its best, this little air purifier runs on less than 10% of a light bulb’s energy! It can purify rooms up to 540 square feet.
When on the go, this Deluxe Mini Personal Air Supply is virtually silent. Surprisingly it has an airflow speed of 100 feet per minute and helps destroy particles such as germs, viruses, dust, pollens, smoke and allergens. The lithium battery lasts 60 hours and this little air purifier is perfect for airplanes and cars.
This UV Air Purifier is comprehensive in removing several types of particles from the air through the use of HEPA, carbon, UV light and ionization technologies. It can remove up to 95% of 0.3-micron particles from 2,350 square feet in about 12 hours.
The UV Air Purifier removes bacteria, viruses, gases, pollen, dander, mold, fungi, smoke, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
There are other ways to help fight indoor air contamination without spending much money as well. Proper ventilation can help bring the outdoor air inside while sending the polluted indoor air out. One of the reasons this is helpful is because of the better insulation techniques used in newer house construction. By properly insulating the new construction, the indoor air stays in and the outside air stays out. This is good for heating and cooling costs, but is having a negative effect on the quality of air. Proper ventilation when cleaning or cooking is very important to help remove toxins and irritants. While talking about cleaning, you should switch to less toxic household cleaning products. Change your filters arrange the house regularly and keep up on recommended maintenance.