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How to Minimize Air Pollution in Your Home

Experts at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, held the week of November 5th, 2009, warned Americans that air pollutants in homes are a growing health hazard.

The EPA estimates that 80-90% of human exposure to air pollution occurs within the home, where we spend 90% of our time. According to the EPA, the air in our homes is often more polluted than that of even the most industrialized cities.

Air pollution is dangerous because it causes oxidative damage and inflammation which can destroy cell membranes, DNA and proteins. Studies have linked air pollution to a variety of heart and lung diseases, as well as respiratory disorders.

The researchers highlighted a couple of the top culprits when it comes to indoor allergens and airborne particles:

Damp Buildings

The humidity within your home creates a haven for dust mites, mold, yeast and other harmful bacteria. All of these harmful particles thrive in moist environments. Be sure to repair leaky pipes and keep a watch for indoor condensation. You may also want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier, especially for damp basements, but be sure to do your research before you make a purchase, as not all dehumidifiers actually do what they claim.

Carpets are deep reservoirs that trap dust and toxic compounds like lead, allergens and bacteria. Studies have shown that just one square foot of the average carpet can contain millions of mold spores and dust mites. The best way to avoid these problems is by having no carpets in your home. However, if you do have a carpet make sure to keep it as dry as possible and deep clean it at least once a year.

Air Conditioning

This one is simple; just make sure your heating and air conditioning systems are well maintained. The air ventilation system in homes is one of the top culprits for indoor air pollution. As they fall into even slight disrepair a constant stream of allergens and particles get pushed through your home daily. Sometimes ventilation systems pull air from bad sources like the attic or the garage so verify that your ventilation system is bringing in air from a good source.

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