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Common Indoor Air Pollutants

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Indoor air quality is greatly impacted by the air pollutants that are invisibly floating around, so what do they include?


When we think of air pollution, we think of large cities and factories with billowing smokestacks, but our homes, they’re probably the last on our list! As we’ve discovered in a series of posts, indoor air quality is typically more polluted than the outdoor air!


At Pionair, fresh, indoor air is vital to your health — after all, most of your time is spent indoors so the rate of exposure is high, so why not ensure the safety of your air? We provide a solution to all of your indoor air quality needs with our line of UV air purifiers. Learn more about the common air pollutants that are found in your home or business in today’s post!

5 Common Indoor Air Pollutants


Harmful air particulates and pollutants easily fool the common resident or business owner, because they’re typically invisible and you don’t know they’re there! So, you go on living your day-to-day life not even realizing that your allergies, headaches, or constantly runny nose could be the result of toxic air! Let’s dive into what the most common indoor air quality perpetrators are below!


Indoor Air Perpetrator #1: Carbon Monoxide (CO)


Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that forms from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. This gas and indoor air pollutant is insidious because it’s impossible to see, taste, or smell — carbon monoxide can cause harm and even death before you even know it’s in your home or business. 


The effects of carbon monoxide exposure varies from person to person, the amount that they’re subjected to, and the length of time. CO stops your body from using the oxygen it needs and causes dizziness, confusion, headaches, nausea, and an elevated heart rate.   


Sources of CO may come from:


  • Gas or kerosene space heaters
  • Faulty chimneys or furnaces
  • Back drafting from gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, and furnaces
  • Gas stoves
  • Generators and gas-powered equipment
  • Vehicle exhaust from attached garages
  • Poorly vented appliances  


Indoor Air Perpetrator #2: Radon (Rn)

Similar to CO, radon is also a colorless and odorless gas found naturally within as the Earth breaks down. Radon is extremely harmful to your health and it has been found that exposure causes lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers! 


How do you know your home or office has radon? Simply, you don’t. It’s vital that you get a radon detector to continually monitor radon levels and if you don’t have a radon detector now, get your levels checked.  


Indoor Air Perpetrator #3: Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)


Nitrogen dioxide and is a corrosive and toxic gas that can come from unvented gas stoves, defective appliance installation, welding, kerosene heaters, and tobacco smoke. 


High levels of NO2 is an irritant to the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract with prolonged exposure resulting in pulmonary edema, bronchitis, etc. 


Indoor Air Perpetrator #4: Mold


Once mold begins growing in your home, it’s very hard to control and remove. There are a variety of molds that grow indoors, and while most molds are harmless, there are some that can cause dire health complications and damage the structural integrity of your home. 


Mold exposure can cause headaches, allergic reactions, coughing, skin irritations, and eye and nasal irritations which make it all the more difficult to diagnose or pinpoint in your health. 


The best way to control a mold overgrowth is to schedule routine HVAC maintenance and fix any leaks promptly. Mold loves moisture, darkness, and warmth to thrive, so you can often find it in your laundry room, attic, bathrooms, etc in your home or business.   


Indoor Air Perpetrator #5: Asbestos


Asbestos is a group of minerals found all over the country and in 1971 the EPA classified asbestos as harmful to our general health, listing it as an unsafe air pollutant. 


Prolonged exposure to asbestos typically leads to asbestosis and lung cancer. Because asbestos is highly inflammatory, coughing and trouble breathing are indicators of asbestos exposure.   


Asbestos can be found in old homes and even old products. If there is asbestos in your home and it’s in good condition the EPA advises that as long as it’s kept in good condition it can stay intact, but if it’s damaged it needs to be removed by trained professionals.  


(Dis)honorable Air Pollutant Mentions


While we explored the role of five common indoor air pollutants, there are a couple more we want to mention and they include:


  • Lead particles
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Particulate matter
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Acrolein
  • Benzene
  • Creosote


It’s important to be aware of not only what common indoor air pollutants are but how they may affect your home or business and the health of those exposed. The EPA takes great precautions for setting permissible levels which is a guideline for their regulation. 


If you think you have poor indoor air quality, it never hurts to get it assessed, and, as always install CO and radon detectors to better manage these toxic gases. Remember, poor air quality doesn’t just exist in major cities and from cars and manufacturing plants, poor indoor air quality also can be where you spend most of your time — indoors! 


To further support healthy indoor air quality, implement a UV air purifier that transforms harmful particulates into healthy, breathable air. 


For more information on how our air purifies can change the air you breathe and promote better health, reach out to us today!