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10 Common Indoor Air Pollutants


John Foxx/Getty
John Foxx/Getty
DCL

You spend one third of your life asleep. But you spend your entire life breathing. Sure, there may be a minute here and there where you stop breathing for swimming-related reasons, but if you stop breathing, the jig is up. Game over, man. What you breathe should be as important as where you sleep. Your lungs are one of those "critical" organs and should be treated thusly. And if the air pollutants can find anything to harm in the lungs, they can move right into the bloodstream and have access to every organ.

The best way to defeat an enemy is to know it. The EPA has a list of the most common indoor air pollutants. Here?s a breakdown of that list.

1. Radon

Prevention Method: Have your home tested. Make sure it isn't contaminated. If it is, contact the authorities.

2. Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Prevention Method: Don't smoke. Ask others to smoke outdoors.

3. Biological Contaminates

AKA, pollen, dander, mold, etc. Prevention Methods: Use

4. Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces and Chimneys

Prevention Methods: Use exhaust fans over stoves. Adjust burners properly. Have your heating system, chimney and stoves inspected for damage. Repair any damage immediately.

5. Household Products

aka paints, cleaners, etc.

Prevention Methods: Watch out for benzene, methylene chloride and perchloroethylene. Properly dispose of old paint cans and other household products when no longer needed. Buy limited quantities and always heed warning labels.

6. Formaldehyde

Prevention Methods: Watch out for benzene, methylene chloride and perchloroethylene. Properly dispose of old paint cans and other household products when no longer needed. Buy limited quantities and always heed warning labels.

Prevention Method: Research formaldehyde content before purchasing pressed wood products.

7. Pesticides

Prevention Methods: Always follow label instructions. Ventilate after use. Use non-chemical pest control when possible and dispose of pesticides properly.

8. Asbestos

Prevention Method: Hire a professional asbestos inspector.

9. Lead

Prevention Method: Don't try and remove lead paint yourself. Hire a professional. Keep areas where children frequent immaculate.

10. Carpet

From the EPA:

- Talk to your carpet retailer. Ask for information on emissions from carpet.

- Ask the retailer to unroll and air out the carpet in a well-ventilated area before installation.

- Ask for low-emitting adhesives if adhesives are needed.

- Consider leaving the premises during and immediately after carpet installation. You may wish to schedule the installation when most family members or office workers are out.

- Be sure the retailer requires the installer to follow the Carpet and Rug Institute's installation guidelines.

- Open doors and windows. Increasing the amount of fresh air in the home will reduce exposure to most chemicals released from carpet. During and after installation, use window fans, room air conditioners, or other mechanical ventilation equipment you may have installed in your house, to exhaust fumes to the outdoors. Keep them running for 48 to 72 hours after the new carpet is installed.

- Contact your carpet retailer if objectionable odors persist.

- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper carpet maintenance.