Indoor Air Quality Concerns
Indoor air is more contaminated than outside air.
There are many things that can contribute to this; smoke, carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and biological contaminants.
Smoking in a house is usually considered to be the greatest source of indoor air contamination. Health risks from tobacco smoke include lung cancer for both the smoker and others who breathe the "second-hand" smoke.
Carbon monoxide detectors monitor an odorless gas that can kill. Carbon monoxide is produced from any common fuel-burning appliance that is not properly adjusted. Low concentrations cause headaches, weakness and drowsiness. Some people think they have the flu, when they are exposed to carbon monoxide.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that comes from uranium. Houses draw in radon from the soil. It is considered to be the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon levels can be reduced. Test kits to detect levels of radon are available from many sources. Some Extension offices, environmental departments, health departments, hardware and discount stores have them. They are inexpensive yet perform a valuable task.
Volatile organic compounds are in many household cleaning products and solvents. Follow the label directions and use adequate ventilation. If you are troubled by a particular product, avoid it.
Some products containing formaldehyde such as particle board and carpet might not be avoidable. Paint or use polyuerethane to seal the surface of particle board. Carpets can be unrolled for several days at the sellers place before being installed at your place. Ventilate the area where new carpet is installed by opening windows and using exhaust fans for a few days. You could also stay away for about two weeks while the odor dissipates.
Pets shed and have animal dander. Either dont have pets inside or at least not in your sleeping area if you have allergies or asthma.
Dust mites live in bedding, carpet and stuffed furniture. They are a leading cause of asthma and allergies. Cover mattresses and pillows with plastic so they can be wet cleaned every week or so. Use hot water to wash the bedding. A hard surface floor in the bedroom can be wet mopped. Frequent vacuuming and dusting help. Reduce humidity levels in the house.
Mold and mildew spores are almost everywhere. They particularly like dark, damp places with little ventilation. Bathrooms are a natural place for mold growth to occur. Run an exhaust fan and increase ventilation to get rid of excess moisture. Scrub and disinfect surfaces that already have mold growth.