There’s more to a happy, healthy home for your family than keeping it clean and tidy – and it starts with good indoor air quality
When you think about air pollution, you probably envision hazy cityscapes, cars and trucks with smoke billowing from the exhausts, dust blown on the wind or heavy industry. However, the air inside our homes can be much poorer quality. In fact, indoor air is estimated to be up to two and a half times more polluted than that outside. Which is surprising until you learn where most of our indoor air pollution comes from.
Sources of indoor air pollution
There are a number of ways that the air inside our homes can become polluted, some of which are more obvious than others. One that you may be familiar with is smoke – from cigarettes, cooking, candles or incense, or a poorly ventilated solid fuel stove. There’s also mold from moisture on surfaces or spores in the air, pollen blown in from outside as well as allergens from household and cosmetic products and pet dander. However, there’s another source of air pollution you could be less aware of, called VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
VOCs are chemicals that easily become a vapor or a gas at room temperature. Examples of VOCs include benzene, acetone and formaldehyde, which are used in many everyday household products, such as upholstery fabrics, carpets, adhesives, solvents, vinyl floors, cleaning chemicals, air fresheners and building materials. VOCs can also be produced by smoking, cooking and printing, and can leak from stored containers of products. Consequently, the level of VOCs indoors is frequently far higher than outdoors.