Saturday, October 3, 2009

5 Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

People are becoming more and more aware of indoor pollutants like paints, toxic cleaning products, and mold. But some indoor air pollutants can be pretty surprising if not downright shocking.

1. The Kitchen Stove

The kitchen stove is the main cause of excess nitrogen dioxide in the home. Cooking on a stove, particularly a gas stove, can actually introduce unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide into the air. Too much nitrogen dioxide is bad for the respiratory system, increasing the risk of asthma attacks and other respiratory illness. This is easily preventable by making sure that your stove is properly ventilated.

2. Air Purifiers that Use Ozone

We use air purifiers in our homes to purify the air but the fact of the matter is that they sometimes can do just the opposite. Ozone is the main ingredient used to give your air a good cleaning. But ozone is also the main ingredient in smog. It can scar lung tissue, trigger asthma attacks, cause coughing fits and lead to permanent damage that could shorten your life. Do not purchase ozone generators that are sold as air cleaners.

3. Cockroaches

The droppings, body parts, and saliva of cockroaches can be asthma triggers. Certain proteins, called allergens, are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions, or trigger asthma symptoms, in some individuals. But don't reduce cockroaches by using traditional pesticides to kill them. Traditional pesticides can pollute our ground water and eco-system as well as the air we breath, instead keep the house clean by making sure that food matter is not left out in the open attracting bugs. Pay particular attention to the holes where cockroaches can make an easy entrance as well.

4. Drapes

Drapes attract dust mites. Dust mites are related to spiders and ticks but are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. They are too small to be seen by the unaided eye. They are also the number one cause of indoor allergies and asthma. Install window blinds instead of drapes to cut down on dust mites' habitat.

5. Incense

Burning incense releases particulate matter as well as benzene and carbon monoxide, two dangerous gases. Studies show a link between heavy exposure to incense smoke and cancer, asthma, and skin irritation. It's best either to stop burning incense entirely or make sure that the room is well ventilated when you do burn it.

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