Toxic Indoor Air Pollution & Keeping a Healthy Home

During my first tabling event for†Utah Moms for Clean Air a few years ago, I couldnít help but overhear talk about indoor air pollution. From lighting wood in our†fireplace to†burning candles in my home during the cold, winter months, I was shocked to learn how harmful both can be to my familyís health. During Salt Lake Valleyís†inversion months, itís illegal to burn coal or wood because it adds to the already toxic air outdoors. Unfortunately, I didnít realize that it can also destroy indoor air.

As outdoor air pollution increases, we tend to assume we can escape into the safety of our homes for cleaner air. Unfortunately,†indoor air pollution is not only as toxic as outdoor air, it can be worse. From†wood burning stoves to household cleaners, we need to be mindful of what we release into our air.

According to the†Environmental Protection Agency, sources of indoor air pollution include:

  • combustion sources: oil, kerosene, gas, coal, wood, candles and tobacco
  • building materials: carpet, wood and insulation
  • household cleaning products, personal care items, paints and solvents
  • central heating and cooling devices
  • outdoor air pollution: smog, ozone, toxic gases such as radon and pesticides

Building and†home decorating products and materials such as†carpeting, can also contain contaminants. These contaminants include: mold spores, radon and volatile organics compounds (VOCís). Many carpets and products used during the installation process contain carcinogenic materials that can stick around in the air for a long time. In addition, mold can grow from wet carpets and cause health problems.†Radon and pesticides from outside can leak indoors and adhere to carpeting materials, re-releasing toxins into the indoor air.

There are a variety of household cleaners used that are extremely toxic to our health. According to the†EPA, typical household cleaners such as aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants containing VOCís pose a great threat to indoor air quality. VOCís may ďcause cancer in animalsÖsome are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.Ē In addition to common household cleaners, paints and other solvents also increase toxicity. The toxic effect varies depending on the type of product used and duration of use.

According to HVAC & R Research, indoor air pollution is caused by biological growth from HVAC components such as poor humidifying systems, cooling coils and drip pans. Also, poor installation of HVAC components and ventilation systems can increase VOCís released into indoor air.

In order to improve our air quality, itís crucial to maintain a naturally clean home. Proper ventilation, removal of toxic products such as cleaners and solvents, and installation of efficient HVAC systems that are properly maintained, along with testing for radon and†natural gas leaks throughout the home make for a safer and healthier home.

Donít you think our homes should be safe havens to raise healthy families?



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by†Bridget James


Darlene Buckingham

I like to grow indoor plants for improving air quality. Beautiful and helpful. What is better than that!?

Brian Beltz
Brian Beltz3 years ago

It's not just air pollution, but homes often have significant biological pollutants, such as pet dander, mold, bacteria, dust mites, and pollen. It can be found all over the house

Matt Ringer
Matt Ringer4 years ago

Those who suffer from respiratory illnesses, asthma or allergies can appreciate the importance of breathing clean air. Through the use of ionic technology, far-infrared rays and a special manufacturing process, an all-natural paint additive named Air-ReNu, has been developed that continuously maintains healthy indoor air quality and removes, odors caused by smoking, pets, cat urine and bacterial proliferation. One application will remain effective for 10-12 years.

Brian M.
Past Member 4 years ago

Two great things to clear up the air in your home: 1. Most people are keeping their homes shut up tight, so the level of indoor pollution just keeps building up. Run your central air(if you have it) with at least one of the windows open for fifteen minutes and thus flush the stale, contaminated air out of your house. 2. Indoor plants can do wonders for purifying your home's air.

Nichola Mac Donough
Nichola Mac D4 years ago

good article, but I'd have liked some more information, in particular about the personal care items

Karen H.
Karen H4 years ago

"More children under four die of accidental poisonings at home than are accidentally killed with guns at home." -National Safety Council
"Of Chemicals commonly found in homes, 150 have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities." -Consumer Product Safety Commission
"After analyzing 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products, 884 were found to be toxic." -National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
(Of these 778 can cause acute toxicity, 146 can cause tumors, 218 can cause reproductive complications, 314 can cause biological mutation, and 376 can cause skin and eye irritations.)
"Indoor air pollution is one of the most important environmental health problems." -Environmental Protection Agency in a report to Congress
According to the EPA most homes have airborne concentrations of hazardous chemicals that are 2 - 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. Personal care products and other household goods release toxic vapors into the air when they are used - some even when they are being stored.

Elizabeth Marshall

I would like to add that I am working on removing all the chemicals and toxins out of my home. I am switching stores and saving. I have started using products that are safe to be used around children and pets, and are also eco-friendly. They are so many products on the market that have chemicals in them that you use on your body and in cleaning your house. I would like to be able to tell more people here about them. I am also earning an income and would like to give others the same opportunity.

Matt Ringer
Matt Ringer4 years ago

Recently moved into a new rental, the pervious tenant smoked and had several cats. The smell was not very pleasant, and the owner found it difficult to rent due to the odor. The landlord reimbursed me for repainting the interior and gave me a break on the rent. A contractor friend told me about a product called Air-ReNu that you mix with the paint. After completing painting, no more smoke or pet odors, Has anyone else used this product?