By Dr. Mercola
You are immersed in an ocean of air every minute of the day, whether you are running a marathon or asleep in your bedroom. Your health depends on the continuous balance of inspiration and expiration, the delicate exchange of gases between you and Earth’s atmosphere.
According to a study by the California EPA, every man, woman and child exchanges between 10,000 and 70,000 liters of air every 24 hours, just to sustain life. With this kind of dependence, I don’t have to tell you how important the physical and chemicals properties of your air must be. At that rate, day in and day out, even very minute levels of airborne toxins pose significant health concerns.
And yet, air quality is often overlooked, compared to concerns about what’s in your food and water.
There was a time, long ago, when humans spent most of their time outside. But today, of course, this is not the case. The average person spends 90 percent of his time inside buildings, as his needs have evolved from chasing down antelope to tracking investment opportunities on the Internet.
Unfortunately, indoor air is far more polluted than outdoor air. According to the EPA, indoor air contains 2 to 5 times more contaminants—and on occasion, as much as 100 times more. As stated by WebMD , indoor air pollution is one of the most serious environmental threats to your health, yet no agency can regulate it, and few studies have been done about its effects on your health.
This report will provide you with some facts about what can be present in the air inside your home, the health dangers those contaminants pose to you and your children (and your pets), and what you can do about it.
Poor Indoor Air Quality Could be Jeopardizing Your Health
Poor air quality has been linked to both short-term and long-term health problems. The EPA warns that the following conditions can be caused or exacerbated by poor indoor air quality:
- Asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems
- Eye and skin irritations,
- Sore throat, colds and flu
- Memory loss, dizziness, fatigue and depression
Even more concerning, other health effects from highly toxic airborne particles could show up YEARS later, including heart disease, respiratory disease, reproductive disorders, sterility and even cancer.
Those particularly vulnerable to indoor pollutants include infants, elderly, and people who already suffer with heart and lung diseases, asthma, chemical sensitivities, or compromised immune systems. Making matters worse, these are often the people who typically spend the most time indoors. Like adults, children are spending more time indoors than ever before. A recent study shines new light on the severity of the indoor air pollution problem.
Indoor Air Contains More than 500 Chemicals
A shocking 2009 study, published in Environmental Health Sciences, used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to examine the air inside 52 ordinary homes near the Arizona-Mexico border. Indoor air was found to be FAR more contaminated than previously demonstrated.
Scientists identified 586 chemicals, including the pesticides diazinon, chlorpyrifos and DDT. Phthalates were found in very high levels. Even more disturbing was the fact that they detected 120 chemicals they couldn’t even identify.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some common indoor allergens that can make me sick?
Common indoor allergens include dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, cockroach droppings, and pollen brought in from outside.
2. How can I reduce exposure to indoor allergens?
Regularly vacuum and dust your home, maintain low humidity levels to prevent mold growth, use allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers, and keep pets out of bedrooms.
3. Can mold inside my home make me sick?
Yes, mold can cause respiratory issues, allergies, and other health problems. Address any water leaks or dampness promptly to prevent mold growth.
4. Are cockroaches harmful to my health?
Yes, cockroaches can trigger asthma and allergies, and they carry harmful bacteria. Keep your home clean, store food in sealed containers, and fix any leaks to prevent their presence.
5. How can I improve indoor air quality?
Use air purifiers, keep your home well-ventilated, and avoid smoking indoors to reduce indoor air pollution and improve your health.
6. Can dirty HVAC systems impact my health?
Yes, dirty HVAC systems can circulate allergens and contaminants, leading to health issues. Regularly change air filters and schedule professional HVAC maintenance.
7. Are there natural ways to keep indoor pests away?
Yes, you can use natural repellents like essential oils or herbs, such as peppermint oil or bay leaves, to deter pests. Keep a clean home and seal any entry points to prevent infestations.