Indoor Air Quality – Tips for a Healthier Home Environment

Air quality impacts our health in both home and workplace environments, including symptoms like headache, nose and throat irritation or dizziness that indicate unhealthy indoor air.

Common pollutants include dust, pet dander, cleaning chemicals, volatile organic compounds found in paint or furniture finishes and secondhand smoke as well as carbon monoxide and natural contaminants like radon – each can lead to adverse health impacts both short- and long-term.


Poor indoor air quality affects many individuals in some way, whether mild symptoms such as eyes and nose irritation to more serious health problems caused by gas exposure such as cancer. Its effects may manifest themselves immediately or over time – even decades later!

Poor ventilation is often at the root of poor air quality in buildings. Insulation may be too tight, or materials used may retain too much moisture resulting in mold, mildew and other biological contaminants accumulating inside these spaces, leading to reduced ventilation levels and eventually poor quality air.

Common contaminants of environmental concern include carbon monoxide, radon and off-gasses from cleaning supplies, paints and pesticides; as well as biological contaminants like bacteria, fungi, pet dander and plant spores originating in humidifiers themselves if not maintained correctly, leading to humidifier fever and other illnesses. Many pollutants can be effectively eliminated with proper ventilation while others require special equipment or structural modifications in existing buildings for elimination.

Fresh Air

Molds, fungi and bacteria thrive in moist environments if building materials aren’t properly insulated or air sealed. Humidifiers also often become sources of biological contamination when not maintained regularly.

Combustion sources such as stoves, fireplaces and tobacco smoke emit combustion byproducts into the atmosphere. Cleaning products, paints and pesticides introduce many different chemicals directly into our indoor environments while newer building materials may even contain chemical off-gassing properties.

Furthermore, certain chemicals such as toxic metals, chlorine and bio-aerosols may pose health risks when present in indoor environments. Unfortunately, however, no nationwide monitoring network provides ROE indicators to track air quality indoors buildings and structures over a statistically valid sample period of time – though that doesn’t mean these pollutants don’t exist – it means their existence should be further investigated through complaints from occupants to determine if their symptoms relate back to indoor air pollution levels.


Indoor environments are vulnerable to many dangerous chemicals and pollutants released into them from combustion byproducts from fireplaces, stoves and furnaces; combustion byproducts from fireplaces; stoves; furnaces; cigarette smoke, cleaning supplies, paints and insecticides all release volatile organic compounds and other chemicals directly into the air, often with immediate side effects or long term consequences for health over long periods or with even significant exposures.

Biological contaminants such as bacteria and mold spores can often be found in homes, which can be inhaled through inhalation or direct contact, leading to allergies and respiratory conditions in those exposed. Therefore, it’s essential that surfaces in your home be disinfected and sanitized regularly in order to eliminate such contaminants, with low VOC products helping decrease airborne chemical emissions.

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers provide a healthier indoor environment by eliminating dust, pollen, pet dander and mold from the atmosphere. Furthermore, their special deodorizing filters remove odors caused by cooking, tobacco smoke and cleaning products – creating a cleaner atmosphere in which to live.

Hazardous air pollutants include volatile organic compounds released by household products, furniture and flooring materials, and paints, which off-gas into the atmosphere and cause headaches, nausea, and other health complications.

Individuals can achieve both increased quality of life and cognitive function improvements by making simple improvements to the indoor environment. These changes may include upgrading filtration systems across an entire building or room-by-room by adding germicidal UV light fixtures, portable air cleaners and installing fresh air ventilation systems with MERV ratings above 10 and HEPA filters. It should also be noted that children and elderly individuals are especially susceptible to harmful pollutants as their respiratory and cognitive systems continue to develop.

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