Thursday, November 6, 2014

Invisible Killers or indoor air quality

Written by: Shunova Kristina

People all over the world are highly concerned about air quality. Fewer people, though, have ever thought about indoor air. The majority are quite sure that air outside is more polluted than inside their houses. However, it is vice versa. I would like to present the major sources of indoor air pollution and give some tips which can help to improve the situation.

Household products.

First of all, I would like to mention personal care and household cleaning products which we actually use in our everyday life. Our morning starts in the bathroom and we use shampoo, soap, toothpaste and skin scrubs. Then we, mostly girls, use different types of cremes and, finally, we do our make-up and hair, again using plenty of beauty products. During the day, we wash dishes several times using washing detergent. We also do our laundry, which includes use of powder and softener, for example. All these products are made of chemicals and emit a huge amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can lead to cancer, asthma attacks, skin and eye irritation and so on. So, try to choose personal care and household products with low concentrations of VOCs.  Here is the link which I, personally, use to choose all the detergents, cleaners and laundry products. (


Carpeting is another issue which is worth discussing. Materials which carpets are made of and the process of producing carpets involve plenty of chemicals which can affect our health as soon as they are released into the air. The component called styrene, which is used in latex for carpet base, is one of the most dangerous VOC sources in carpets. Along with chemicals, bacteria, dust, mold and mildew can be found in carpets. All together, these can cause skin irritation, headaches, fatigue, eye and nose irritation and difficulties in breathing. That is why, when choosing a carpet, I would strongly recommend you to buy Green Label products, which have a low level of VOCs. It is also quite a good idea to let your new carpet air out before laying it indoors, and keep the room with a new carpet well ventilated. You should also look for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air filter) that will help you to keep the carpet clean and thus improve the indoor air quality. 
Nonstick cookware is also dangerous for our health. It emits a chemical (perfluoro-octanoic acid) into the air which is linked with cancer, thyroid decease, reduced fertility and elevated cholesterol. This issue is now being studied by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the USA, as this chemical has been found in people’s blood samples.


Another danger is radon gas, which comes from the ground and water. It actually comes from a natural decay of uranium, which is found in almost all soil types. Radioactive particles of radon can get inside your lungs and cause lung cancer. In order to protect yourself from radon gas penetration inside your home, you should prevent any cracks or holes in your house’s foundations.


Our daily routine includes cooking and washing, which leads to increase of water vapors in the air. A high level of moisture can result in mold growth. So, those who have some kind of allergies can have an asthma attack or start coughing.

In view of the fact that everything inside our houses pollutes the air we breathe, it is essential that we take steps to improve air quality. Proper ventilation is the key way to keep your indoor air clean and safe to breathe. 

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Fluorinated Telomers. 2014. EPA. Read 10.10.2014.
Radon.Health risks. 2014. EPA. Read 10.10.2014.
Volatile Organic Compounds. 2014. EPA. Read 10.10.2014.

1 comment:

  1. I actually use green cleaning products in my day today life. And for safety I hire house cleaning services too which use green cleaning products. Sometimes when I get time I use to make herbal products for cleaning purpose at my home. I love doing my home cleaning.