What’s Causing Indoor Air Pollution
Our homes are filled with indoor air pollution including cleaning products, bath oils, scented candles, mothballs, insect repellants, and floor wax products. Such items generate odors and fumes that can cause allergy symptoms in sensitive people. Poor ventilation can worsen the problem.
Common Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Tobacco smoke is a common source of indoor air pollution. Studies have shown that children exposed to tobacco smoke—even with only parent smoking—are more likely to develop respiratory infections, whether or not they have allergies. Children are less likely to develop allergies of any kind if those around them don’t smoke. If a smoker ever needed a good reason to quit, having an allergic child would certainly be one.
Natural gas can be a problem for chemically sensitive individuals. Gas-fired furnaces and stoves discharge fumes into the household environment. Consult you local heating engineer for advice.
Of course, some irritants come from outdoors. If you live on or near a busy street, you may have to keep your windows shut during peak traffic hours. If you live near a factory, the smoke may cause problems.
You may even decide that it is in your best interests to move if prevailing winds carry industrial pollution into your home.
A plethora of fumes, smoke, household aids, and cosmetics may be bothering you. It is important to understand that these are irritants rather than allergens. Nevertheless, they can lower your resistance and irritate your respiratory system, thereby lowering your allergy sensitivity thresholds. Review the following and check the items below that you believe to be detrimental to your well-being:
Household Causes of Allergy Symptoms
There are many potential sources of indoor air pollution in your home. Outside vents from the kitchen, bathroom, and clothes dryer should be located as high as possible, so that exhaust fumes are not recirculated.
If possible, replace natural gas heat and gas appliances with electric hot water heating and electric appliances. If that is not possible, ask your utility company to turn off the pilot light on your stove. (Use matches to light the stove.) Install an exhaust hood above the stove and an air filter in the kitchen to remove cooking odors. Make sure that the exhaust from your gas furnace is going up the chimney rather than escaping into the house or ducts.
If your garage is attached, check the rooms above it and adjacent to it for odors from chemicals stored in the garage.
Keep containers of paints, solvents, insecticides, household cleaning products, glues, and so on tightly sealed.
Other Items That Can Cause Problems
- Car exhaust
- Dry cleaning fluid
- Moth balls
- Motor oil
- Swimming pool
- Window cleaners
- Floor waxes
- Aerosol sprays
- Nail polish
- Marking pens
- Pungent foods
- Strong odors