The air you breathe in plays a major role in keeping you healthy for it can cause problems such as asthma, respiratory disease, lung cancer, and allergies. It is estimated that an average person spends around 90% percent of his/her day indoors and the results of the latest tests show that over 95% of homes have at least one problem with their indoor air quality. Considering that the average person takes up to 23,000 breaths a day, that’s a lot of toxins he/she is actually breathing in every day.
Many people who try to live healthy lives focus on the food and beverages they consume and the amount of exercise they undertake. However, the air you breathe in is also critical for your health. People who live or work in areas with poor indoor quality often report a variety of different health issues, including heart problems, autoimmune conditions, and certain cancers. In order to reduce these health risks for yourself and your family, you’ll first need to recognize what environmental toxins are prevalent in your area, and then taking measures towards removing them. To help you identify the potential risks, here is a list if the top 5 harmful toxins found in the air.
Cigarette smoke is one of the most common toxic air pollutants you’ll find indoors. Although the U.S. and most of Europe have now banned indoor smoking in most of the public areas, it still is the leading cause of cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, second-hand smoke is just as dangerous which may lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Tobacco not only contains many chemicals which cause cancer but also affects people with allergies and asthma. Second-hand smoke holds a potential threat to children in particular as it can cause them to develop asthma and also increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
Many building materials contain what is known as ‘volatile organic compounds’ (VOC), which is not safe to inhale. The most common of these materials include carpet adhesives, insulation, and paint. Some of the toxins normally found in these items are formaldehyde, arsenic, xylene, and benzene, which have been linked to cancer. Exposure to these chemicals can induce symptoms such as itchy skin, nausea, headache, fatigue, and dizziness.
If you are moving into a newly renovated area and you have a habit or schedule of working from home, make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and always wait for the renovation work to complete and until the area is dry and tidy.
Mold and Mildew
Usually found in damp areas like your bathroom, attic, and basement, mold occurs naturally and can multiply quickly if it is not taken care of. The spores from mildew and mold produce dangerous VOC’s such as mycotoxins, which are toxic and can lead to lesions, fatigue, breathing difficulties, skin rashes, nausea, diarrhea, and depression.
If you find mold or mildew in your home, you must be careful while cleaning it since scrubbing the area can make it go airborne, increasing your chance to breathe it in.
Dust, Pollen, and Dander
Considering that the majority of allergies are due to dust mites, pollen and dander, it is important that you keep your home and working area clean. Pets release dander (dead animal skin cells similar to human dandruff), fur, and feathers to the air which when breathed in can cause respiratory problems.
Other common air pollutants are pollen and dust mites, which cause runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and difficulty in breathing.
Cleaning Products, Air Fresheners, and Pesticides
All these normally contain toxic chemicals that pollute the air you breathe, thus making you sick. The chemicals found in many of these products, such as bleach, triclosan, formaldehyde, and petroleum are also unsafe to breathe in and can cause several problems, including respiratory problems and even certain cancers.
When using these products, make sure that the area has enough ventilation and you are taking the proper precautions.
There are toxins all around us all the time, and sometimes we are not aware of it. In order to live the healthiest lifestyle and provide your family a clean environment, it’s important that you educate yourself on all the possible dangers out there, including airborne toxins. Hopefully, this list will help you create a safer living and working area.