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7 Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

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7 Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

According to the EPA, scientific evidence indicates that indoor air can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other studies indicate that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. The math isn’t so great–for many people health risks may be greater due to indoor air pollution rather than outdoor pollution.

Ill effects may arise after just a single exposure as well as repeated exposure, and can run the range from irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. These effects are usually short-term and treatable–sometimes simply eliminating the exposure to the source of the pollution is treatment enough.

Other health effects can show up years after a single exposure as well as long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is important to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.

There are a number sources of air pollution that are more commonly known as others–many already know about the dangers of cleaning products and air fresheners. Here are seven sources of indoor air pollutions that may be less commonly known–adapted from

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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4:17PM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Thanks for sharing this useful tips.

2:07PM PDT on May 4, 2012

Indoor air pollution obviously comes from many sources in the home. Many people do not realize the potential hazards of showering in chlorinated water. Hot water actually increases the concentration of chlorine in water vapor in the shower. In addition, chlorine is absorbed into the human body through the skin. A simple solution to this problem is to install a shower filter. You may also notice the added benefit of having softer skin and hair.

5:46PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Moving into this new apartment was awful for me. It had all brand new carpet and a fresh paint job right before we moved in! The smell was nauseating and it was cool enough that we only had a few days where we could open the windows to air the place out.

4:45PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Thank you for the information.

6:46AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

INDOOR POLLUTION has absolutely reached its heights. I know for sure, because as a RAINBOW Air Purifier salesperson, I have been going to all kinds of houses and meeting all types and sized families. The shocking truth is their ignorance (some do know but took everything for granted).
Irony is in the bedroom, the most fabric contained area of the house. Mattress cleaning eliminates all the dust, dead skin cells and dust mites.The shocking truth always is the invisible content of pollutes that are air borne within all homes. Primarily, architectural turn has reduced ventilation outlets. More people live within closed enclosures, with false opinion that outside air is dirty. Little do they realise that outdoor air is cleansed daily by mist, dew and rain. Indoor ill air has resulted in sick building syndromes everywhere, sinus and respiratory issues plus increased induced asthmatic complications. I have written an abundance to induce change of indoor living lifestyle at
It is time to check our indoor life pattern, products used indoors, and minimise fumes and sprays. Choice of eco friendly indoor fittings is important. Above all, VENTILATE the home. Use the early mornings and after a heavy down pour to keep all doors and windows open. Let the outside water washed air sweep through the house and flush out used and polluted air.
Change must come for healthier living and breathing.

12:12AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

With regard to the stoves, there are around 3 billion people around the world who are being affected by the smoke generated from the stove, majority of these people live in slum/ rural areas, they can't afford or have access to gas or propane. Their everyday food depends on these stoves and women spend hours and have respiratory problems, burning eyes and coughing from this smoke. A new stove has been designed with the objective to generate low smoke and also carry the smoke out of home. Many women in India are already using it. Those who are interested to know more can visit this site

11:44AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

It is scary what chemicals we are breathing in every day in our homes. Many of the chemicals listed here and the remediation steps are some of the more obvious ones, but what about the chemicals that aren't so obvious? Much like having an annual check-up by the doctor, we have found that first testing the air in our house helped us understand exactly what kinds of contamination we were dealing with and what we could do about it. Then we could focus on removing the offending sources. But this is all great information - thanks!

6:14AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Ive always thought that chemicals in cleaning products are really bad ! do not use them there is other ways and other things to use , which are much better

5:47PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

@ Iona Kentwell, thank you for the Green Star and your own informative post. I'd never used eucalyptus oil for cleaning, so will give it a try. My standbys, like yours, are also vinegar and baking soda.

3:52PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

The chemicals in new stuff are disgusting. Buy natural products, buy second hand encouraging reusing items and supporting charities at the same time. And always clean with natural products. Eucalyptus, lemon, orange and lavender oils are great as is bicarb of soda and white vinegar, hot water and sunlight. There is a lot you can do to get poisons out of your house.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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