Indoor Air is Killing Us

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors,where the concentrations of some pollutants are up to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Indoor air quality is considered one of the top five environmental risks to health! When you consider the simple fact we spend far more time inside than out, it makes sense to seriously consider what the quality of our indoor air is like. To that end, we'll take a look at various contaminants that are common in indoor air, and what you can do about some of them.

Let's break down a list of indoor pollutants and their sources into two categories: solids, and liquids/gasses.

Solid Pollutants

Airborne articles, no matter how small, can represent a health hazard, particularly to those with conditions like asthma or seasonal allergies. The good news is that many of these particles can settle out of the air to be gathered with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, or an air purifier with a HEPA filter can readily remove them. Here's a list of airborne solids provided by the EPA:

  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Pollen
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Dander
  • Feces
  • Urine proteins
  • Mold
  • Inorganics (silicates, dust)

Liquid & Gaseous Pollutants

To reduce exposure to contaminants that are in gas form, your best options involve reducing the source of the gas and ventilating your indoor space with fresh air. Air purifiers that have an activated carbon filter in them can be effective at removing VOCs. Most buildings can at least be ventilated by opening a window or door, or more actively with blowers and vents. The EPA recommends 0.35 air changes per hour but not less than 15 cubic feet of air per minute per person.

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
  • Radon
  • Ozone
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Mold in Your Air?


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