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INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

As dangerous as polluted outdoor air can be to health, indoor air pollution actually poses a far greater heath risk.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air on average.  If you’re like the typical person you spend an astonishing 90% of your life indoors.

The health effects of indoor air pollutants range from short-term problems like eye and throat irritation to long-term illnesses like respiratory disease and cancer.  Based on cancer risk alone, federal scientists have ranked indoor air pollution as one of the most important environmental problems in the US.

Clean Air

Clean Air

Here are more important facts to consider about indoor air pollution

  • A pollutant released indoors is 1000 times more likely to reach people’s lungs than a pollutant released outdoors.
  • Airborne pollutants from cleaning and personal care products you use in your home are three times as likely to cause cancer as pollutants from outside.
  • 1500 hazardous substances can be found in the typical North American home.
  • An estimated one out of every 15 homes in the United States has radon levels above 4pci/lL, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency- recommended maximum level.  A recent report by the National Research Council estimates that radon is responsible for between 15,000 and 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.
  • Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) also called “secondhand smoke,” a major indoor air pollutant, contains about 4,000 chemicals, including 200 known poisons – such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide – as well as 43 carcinogens.
  • Homemakers may have a 55% higher risk of cancer than women working outside the home.
  • Air pollution contributes to lung disease and lung cancer.  Lung disease alone claims close to 335,000 lives in America every year and is the third leading cause of death in the United States.  Over the last decade, the death rate for lung disease has risen faster than for almost any other major disease.
  • Ten million Americans have asthma.  Asthma and asthma deaths have increased over 30% in the past 10 years.
  • Thirty-three million Americans suffer from sinusitis, or inflammation or infection of sinus passages.  Research has now confirmed that chronic sinusitis is an immune disorder caused by fungus (molds are all members of the fungus family).
  • Biological pollutants such as molds, bacteria, viruses, pollen, dust mites, and animal dander promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work and school.

Those especially vulnerable to the health risks of indoor pollutants include infants, the elderly, those with heart and lung diseases, people with asthma, and anyone who has developed extreme sensitivity to chemicals.  Making matters worse, these are often the people who spend the most time indoors.

Why You Must Pay Serious Attention to Molds in Your Home

Mold has been getting a lot press the last few years, especially since “sick building syndrome”. , has become associated with mold.  Just to define terms, molds are microscopic, musty-smelling members of the fungi (fungus) family.  Molds reproduce by releasing tiny spores into the air.  Because these spores are so small, they can reach deep into your respiratory tract.  Three of the most common molds/fungi found indoors are Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, and Penicillium. Both mold particles and mold spores in your home can lead to health problems, along with an even-scarier mold hazard.

Although you may have heard the term “toxic mold”, it is actually a toxic substance released by some molds (called a mycotoxin) that is the most dangerous.  The health hazards of some of these mycotoxins from molds such as Stachybotrys (a slimy black mold) and other species are now coming to light as people are filing homeowner’s insurance claims and seeking medical treatment for mold invasion of their homes.

Molds thrive in humid atmospheres.  Unfortunately, most homes have suffered some type of water damage, whether from a plumbing problem or a leaking roof.  Even high humidity can give molds a happy reproductive environment.  So once your home dries out, there may still be hidden sources of mold and mold spores trapped under the carpet or pad, in wallboard, wood, or numerous other areas.

Additionally, your pillows and bedding, air conditioner units, upholstery, shower stalls and other areas are ripe areas for mold fungus infestation.  And unfortunately, cleaning is not very effective as a primary measure, since mold spores are very resistant organisms.  Molds are a serious issue in common illnesses such as allergies, asthma, and chronic sinus infections.

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