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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Keeping Your Family Healthy Room by Room

Vestina F. Crayton, Pinellas County Extension Specialist, Urban Sustainability.

Your family’s health is a top priority for most. One way to keep your family healthy is by understanding and managing the sources that affect their indoor air quality. Since the average person spends approximately 90% of their time indoors, it is important to take a closer look at the areas or items that may compromise the quality of your indoor air environment. Depending on the level of exposure to certain indoor air pollutants, acute or chronic health concerns can occur that may range from mild eye irritation to death. Research has shown that air pollutants indoors can be greater than those found outdoors.

This chart highlights some of the common indoor air pollutants, associated health effects and control measures (reactions vary from person to person)

Indoor Air PollutantHealth ImpactsControl Measures
MoldSneezing, Coughing, AsthmaKeep house cool, dry and clean
Carbon MonoxideSymptoms similar to flu: nausea dizziness; brain damageInstall a CO alarm
LeadSlows physical, behavioral, and learning developmentIf your house was built in 1978 or earlier have it tested by a professional
Radon Gas Lung CancerHave house tested Call 1-800-SOS-Radon
AsbestosHigh levels can cause lung problems Consult a professional for testing, repair and removal
Tobacco SmokingSecond hand smoke increase the risk of disease and death in children and non-smokersEliminate or reduce exposure
FormaldehydeWatery, burning eyes, breathing problemsEliminate or reduce exposure to pressed-wood products
Volatile Organic Compounds Dizziness nausea; neurological and reproductive disordersFollow the instructions on proper use and store appropriately
PesticidesDizziness nausea; neurological and reproductive disordersFollow the instructions on proper use and store appropriately

Take a tour through the US Environmental Protection Agency virtual home to learn about some of the most common sources of indoor air pollutants.

If you would like to test the levels of indoor air pollutants in your home, contact your local health department.

For more in-depth information about how to minimize indoor air toxins to create a healthier indoor environment, Pinellas County Extension will be offering a Healthy, Home, Healthy Family seminar September 12, 2009. Please check back for more details and to register at Pinellas County Extension.


Hyun-Jeong Lee, Audrey Norman, “My Florida Home Book 2.2: Keeping Your Home Healthy”FCS3294


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