Household emmissions that affect your air quality
Have you ever wondered if the air you are breathing can be harmful to your health?
If you haven’t given it a thought already then maybe it is time that you take air pollution and its’ hazardous effects seriously. You might be thinking that you don’t visit sites with air pollution and say at home most of the time, but you should know that the air you are breathing at home isn’t always free of contaminants.
Yes, the environment and air we trust as safe can be the cause of adverse health affects. If you are adamant that you have nothing in your home that can pollute the air, this guide is here to help shed light on things we can’t always see or control, so you can understand what industry professionals are looking out for.
Truth is, many household products can emit chemicals and gases which can have negative effects on your health.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
There are many seemingly harmless products at your home that are continuously secreting volatile organic compounds that you are inhaling and damaging your health.
Volatile organic compounds are the chemicals or gases secreted from many household equipment and the products you use to maintain your house. Technically speaking, VOC’s are a compound that is high in vapor pressure.
Even when you are not using those products or appliances they still secrete these off-gases to pollute the air you breathe.
The effects of these gases indoors are around 10 times higher as compared to outdoors. Because while indoors without any proper outlet to emit these gases, you will be bound to a place full of these gases which you will inhale for every passing second.
Many people believe that they don’t smell any gas so it means that their equipment or maintenance products are not emitting any harmful chemicals. Understand that there does not need to be any noticeable odour or evidence for something harmful to be present. This isn’t to say there’s always danger around every corner and in every appliance but moreso that it is wise to consider your air quality at all times.
You might be surprised to know the sources of these VOC’s in your home. They can be present in your home as part of building materials including paint, varnish, carpets, wood products, vinyl floor, and foam.
It can also be your personal care or household product that might be emitting chemicals like air fresheners, cosmetic sprays, gas, fuel, and cleaning products.
To some degree, running electrical or gas-based appliances will incur some off-gassing and VOC’s, such as your running fridge, oven, heater or microwave.
Some examples of activities that could be costing you your health include smoking, making photocopies with a home printer, laminating, dry cleaning, burning papers, etc.
All these activities, equipment, and products emit gases and chemicals that degrade the quality of the air you breathe. The lower the air quality, the more it can make a noticeable impact to your health, allergies or sensitivities. There have even been cases of people developing new allergies due to the unique exposures and irritants in their environment.
The harmful effects on human health due to VOC depends upon various factors. The intensity and extent of exposure to these harmful gases and chemicals is the most important factor in this regard. The more exposure the more the chances of health degradation.
Also, various chemicals can have varying effects on your health so with each kind of emission you are exposed to a different health hazard and you have no idea what the combination of these chemicals can do.
In general, the health effects and issues range from irritation in the nose, and throat, watery eyes, nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, and asthma attacks. In extreme cases and long-term exposure, it can even result in severe and chronic diseases like liver damage, kidney failure, cancer, and nervous system damage.
How to cater to VOC?
Well, there is no level of VOC that can be regarded as safe for human health. The more you can refrain from breathing in a VOC atmosphere the less potential risks you expose yourself to.
As ‘prevention is better than a cure’, so too it is better to take preventive measures and purify the air you breathe to ignore all the above-mentioned health hazards and lead a healthy lifestyle.
In a relaxed environment such as one’s own home, it can be easy to forget about the importance of air quality, or be complacent with taking prevantative measures. But especially as our society shifts to increased working from home, smaller living spaces and high-tech appliances, these issues should be brought more into the conversation.
You might have heard “health is wealth” and we surely agree with this phrase. A healthy home is paramount to an individual’s longevity and wellbeing, but even more so to a family with higher-risk individuals like children or the elderly.
Multiple preventive measures can help to ensure that the air you are breathing is clean for your lungs and other organs.
You can start by storing the items that emit harmful gases or chemicals in outdoor sheds. You can also remove the equipment that is emitting VOC. But it is not always possible to remove the equipment that is necessary for you.
A good mediatory step is wearing the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) when needed.
This can include a mask with a sufficient seal or filtration, especially when dealing with serious fumes or particulates (most commonly seen when painting, renovating or cleaning). Gloves can also help, as they prevent substances from leeching into your skin.
Simply introducing ventilation into a space is important as well, even just cracking a window so fresh air can circulate. But when you need a long-term solution that doesnt require any extra work, then the most efficient way to cater to VOC is to install an air purifier or air scrubber.
Air Purifiers for home
An air purifier/scrubber is your perfect buddy to remove air pollution of all types including VOC, odor, dust, or contamination on the surface. It is the ultimate air-purifying solution to ensure that the air you are breathing is genuinely clean.
You can find air purifiers at these websites with HEPA technology (high efficiency particulate air) which take air filtration to a new level. HEPA filters are known to offer air filtration to a whopping 99.97 percent. These filters are ideal for removing allergens and dust particles.
The great news is that they also offer air scrubbers with carbon or charcoal filters. These kinds of filters are famous for filtering out harmful gaseous substances like cigarette smoke, the emissions from a cleaning product, or paint that is still wet. These filters are also renowned for removing chemicals and harmful fumes and purifying the air maintaining the air quality.
The best feature is that HEPA and carbon filters not only do wonders in purifying the air but also trap and remove the odor that can cause an unwelcoming smell in your house. Almost all air purifiers equipped with HEPA and charcoal or carbon filters remove particles that are the reason for bad odor in the environment.
Along with air scrubbers, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems can also help to filter air.
An air filter is pre-installed in almost all HVAC systems which help to trap dust particles and purify the air. In order to stay compliant, alot of public buildings or offices are including more powerful or advanced air purification through HVAC systems, ducted air control or even smaller portable units which still proven to be highly effective for their price point.
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