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|Air Pollution Comes Home
Net research by Sadia Hanif
is your castle. A safe haven sheltered from the worries of the outside world. Or is it?
It turns out that our homes (and many other buildings) are major sources of indoor air
pollution -- much of which is hazardous to your health.
Indoor air pollution has increased during the last couple of decades, partly because of
our energy consciousness. We seal up our homes and offices tightly against the heat and
cold. In addition, the products, furnishings and construction materials we use today are
much more likely to discharge toxic substances into the air.
Are the Pollutants?
Some of these substances are no mystery. We know what harm carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke,
radon and asbestos can do. Others indoor pollutants are substances that are new or whose
effects are less well-known. Hundreds of chemicals commonly found in the home may harm
humans in ways we do not yet understand. We also do not know exactly what happens when
some of these chemicals combine and form new substances in an enclosed environment. The
dismal results of this increasing problem include cancer, asthma, poisoning, (such as lead
and pesticide poisoning), viral and bacterial infections, allergies, headaches and a host
of other mental and physical ailments.
Dont Leave Civilization Just Yet
Before you pack up and move into a tent, there are plenty of things you can do to improve
air quality inside your home. Many of these things can be done relatively cheaply,
although they may take considerable time and effort. You should also be aware that some of
the everyday household products you use may be contributing to the problem. Look for less
toxic products. When you must use things like pesticides and solvents, read the label
carefully, use exactly as directed and try to air out your home afterward.
The first step toward improving indoor air quality is detecting pollution problems and
finding their source. You may find that the solutions are as simple as increasing
ventilation, properly venting your stove, having your furnace serviced or your ducts
cleaned. Some solutions will be more complex
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