When it comes to your indoor air quality, Halloween isn’t the only time of year it can be spooky. Everyday items in your home give off dangerous chemicals in the form of indoor air pollutants which are harmful to your health and wellness.
In the spirit of Halloween, take this opportunity to learn about how you can ward off scary indoor air pollution with these tips!
VOC’s, short for volatile organic compounds, are more common than you think. Found in many household items, dangerous chemicals are emitted and can cause short and long-term adverse health problems. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, worsening asthma symptoms and even more serious conditions like cancer and nervous system damage.
Examples of where you can find VOC’s are in cleaning supplies, candles, craft supplies like glue and adhesives, printers and office supplies and paint and candles. VOC’s are commonly found indoors and can be up to ten times more concentrated than when found outdoors.
A few simple solutions to cutting your exposure to VOC’s include switching to non-toxic, all-natural household cleaners, choosing low VOC paint and only burning candles that are paraffin-free.
Radon — an odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and is found in many homes across the country. This is one Halloween fright we could all do without. Radon forms when uranium found in water, rocks and soil breaks down, releasing the gas into dirt. It can then enter your home through cracks and leaks in your walls, flooring and even through fire places.
Because radon is found naturally outdoors, everyone has been exposed to it at some point. It is however more dangerous indoors because of the confinement and concentration.
Because it is commonly found in homes (roughly one in 15), radon testing is available. Most hardware stores have at-home kits that can test radon levels. More in-depth tests are also available by professional services.
If your home is tested and exceeds the limit of 4 picocuries per liter (pCiL), it’s important to immediately take the necessary steps towards reducing the radon levels. Contact a radon specialist to help resolve the situation.
Another nasty chemical that can be dangerous when inhaled, formaldehyde is also found in many common household items. Newly manufactured products often contain high levels of formaldehyde like permanent press fabrics (drapes or curtains), pressed wood like cabinets, laminate flooring and particle board.
Newer homes that are better insulated can be more dangerous for higher concentrations of formaldehyde exposure, due to less air flow and ventilation. While energy efficiency is sought after in new building construction, it can often lead to less ventilation and poor indoor air quality.
To reduce the amount of formaldehyde found in your home, ventilation is the key. Open windows and install exhaust fans for more air flow. Choose products that are made without urea-formaldehyde glues and that are labeled No VOC/Low VOC.
Make this Halloween the Halloween you or a loved one quit smoking. The dangerous consequences from smoking cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products are well known.
As the most preventable cause of lung cancer, eliminating tobacco smoke from inside your home is a critical step to reducing indoor air pollution and improving your overall health and wellness.
If you must be around someone who smokes, ask them to only do it outdoors and away from doors or windows that are open. Exposure to tobacco smoke will be less dangerous to your breathing, but secondhand smoke is still a major concern. According to the EPA, secondhand smoke can still cause lung cancer in adults who do not smoke.
Causing allergic reactions in adults and children, mold is a common pollutant found in homes all across the country, particularly humid climates.
While irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs are typical symptoms of mold exposure, those who are asthmatic can experience worsened symptoms.
The best way to deal with mold is to prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place. The best way to do this is to control humidity levels. Increasing ventilation, using air conditioners and dehumidifiers work well against humid environments that encourage mold growth.
Maintaining a healthy level of humidity with a self-regulating humidifier like the Venta Airwasher guarantees your indoor environment is getting the moisture it needs without over-humidifying. Venta’s patented Cold Evaporation system ensures your air only takes the moisture it needs from the unit. You’ll never find over-humidification or unhealthy mold growth when using the Airwasher, even if you’re already in a humid climate.
Whenever the combustion of fuels occurs, carbon monoxide is produced. This happens inside your home everyday with clothes dryers, water heaters, fireplaces, gas stoves and ovens, motor vehicles (garages) and water heaters. This colorless and odorless gas is extremely dangerous, particularly because our bodies cannot detect it. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can be similar to the flu, so victims often times ignore the early signs of poisoning.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a scare fit for Halloween, but it is unfortunately a serious matter that should be considered year-round. The CDC estimates that approximately 400 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide exposure in the United States every year. Thankfully, most states require it by law to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in homes.
Knowledge of what appliances in your home are fuel-burning can help keep you conscious of the potential risks of carbon monoxide exposure. Be sure to properly vent rooms that have these appliances and maintain the appliances to premium operation ability.
Halloween should be fun rather than scary with more treats and less tricks. With that being said, these tips should help you to take control of the scary air pollutants that may be lurking about in your home.
We know the air you breathe indoors can be more polluted than outdoor air, which is why it’s our mission to make the air you breathe cleaner. With our Airwashers, we’re leading the indoor air revolution.
And while you’re enjoying delicious treats in spooky costumes with friends and family, from all of us at Venta, we’d like to wish our Venta Family a Happy Halloween!