Air pollution at home
Find out how to protect yourself from the health effects of air pollution
What is air pollution? Put simply, an air pollutant is any substance in the air that can have a negative effect on humans and the ecosystem. Sources of outdoor pollution include the usual suspects – automobiles, industry, construction, photochemical smog, ozone and more. These days, climate change has also led to earlier snow melts, hotter springs and summers, with smoke from longer wildfire seasons increasingly becoming an issue.
But just shutting the world out doesn’t solve the problem, since there are indoor sources of pollution, too. In fact, most chemical contaminants originate indoors from things like air fresheners, cleaning products, carpet and vinyl flooring, adhesives, paint and more.
Health effects of pollution
Exposure to indoor air pollution affects all animals – you, your family and your pets. It has been linked to the development of everything from infections to asthma to lung cancer. It can also cause less serious side effects such as headaches, nasal congestion, nausea, fatigue and dry eyes. If you suffer from an existing lung condition, you will be at a greater risk of experiencing symptoms.
How to protect yourself
So how can you protect yourself from air pollution? Ventilation alone won’t do it, because indoor pollutant levels can increase if not enough outdoor air is brought in to dilute pollutants in indoor air and can also increase from outdoor pollutants coming indoors.
You might not be able to affect the traffic pattern in your street or the wildfire upwind, but to reduce indoor air pollution, we do suggest looking at your complete home environment to see which products may be releasing VOCs and reduce them if possible. We also suggest you consider an air purifier with the correct filter for the pollutants in your home, whether particles, smoke or volatile organic compounds.
Articles in this section explain some of the challenges and offer ideas on how to protect yourself from the health effects of air pollution.