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 Pollutant||Health Impacts||Control Measures|
|Mold||Sneezing, Coughing, Asthma||Keep house cool, dry and clean|
|Carbon Monoxide||Symptoms similar to flu: nausea dizziness; brain damage||Install a CO alarm|
|Lead||Slows physical, behavioral, and learning development||If your house was built in 1978 or earlier have it tested by a professional|
|Radon Gas||Lung Cancer||Have house tested Call 1-800-SOS-Radon|
|Asbestos||High levels can cause lung problems||Consult a professional for testing, repair and removal|
|Tobacco Smoking||Second hand smoke increase the risk of disease and death in children and non-smokers||Eliminate or reduce exposure|
|Formaldehyde||Watery, burning eyes, breathing problems||Eliminate or reduce exposure to pressed-wood products|
|Volatile Organic Compounds||Dizziness nausea; neurological and reproductive disorders||Follow the instructions on proper use and store appropriately|
|Pesticides||Dizziness nausea; neurological and reproductive disorders||Follow 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.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Web site