Thursday, June 14, 2012

5 common chemical concerns at home

Indoor air pollution is a serious health risk,
according to health authorities such as the EPA.
Rarely do we pause to think about the air we are breathing every day at home and at the office.

But indoor air pollution has become a serious concern, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air quality among its top four environmental health concerns.

Air quality indoors has become a bigger problem with the advent of more airtight homes and buildings, poor ventilation and higher emissions from a wide range of products.

As part of their 2012 National Men’s Health Week, Men’s Health Magazine published a guide to the 5 most common chemicals at home that can affect people’s health and well-being.

Household Cleaners and Disinfectants
Homeowners may like the “fresh” smell, but many of these products contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and cause headaches as well as nausea. Look for non-toxic cleaning products or use cleaning agents such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

Radon can become a problem in almost any house. The odorless, colorless and radioactive gas comes naturally from the decay of uranium in the soil and can enter homes through cracks and fissures in the foundation or building envelope. Since radon is often named as the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoke, it’s important to have the home tested and the problem mitigated, if necessary.

Many renovation and finishing products like paints, paint strippers, varnish removers and more contain harmful VOCs, including possible carcinogens benzene and methylene chloride. Opt for low- or zero-VOC products, or make sure the area is well ventilated.

Carbon Monoxide
The odorless gas comes from wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, gas cook tops and other sources and can be extremely harmful to human health.Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas.

This known irritant and carcinogen is a common pollutant in any home, coming from furniture and building materials (especially pressed wood and particleboard), appliances, paints and many other sources. Good ventilation and air cleaning are key to reduce exposure.

Source: Men’s Health (pdf)

Air purifiers for the home and office

Airborne chemicals may be a common concern, but homeowners and family members may reduce their exposure by using a portable room air purifier with the right type of air filters.

A commercial air purifier with a HEPA filter is more like a dust collector than an air purifier, and it won’t be effective for chemicals, gases and odors. For those gaseous contaminants, a granular activated carbon filter is needed with at least 15-18 pounds of carbon.

AllerAir offers some of the most efficient and long-lasting air purifiers on the market with the most relevant filtration media and the most customizable options. For help in choosing the right air purifier, check out AllerAir's air quality sizing and model selection guides.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

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