A shocking research study from 2009 published in Environmental Health Sciences, used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to examine the air inside 52 ordinary homes in south west USA. Indoor air was found to be more contaminated than previously bekieved.
Scientists identified 586 chemicals, including the pesticides diazinon, chlorpyrifos and DDT. Chemicals from plastics were found in very high levels. Even more disturbing was the fact that they detected 120 chemicals they couldn’t even identify.
So, what’s in YOUR air?
The long list of common pollutants and toxic particles is summarized below.
Sources of Pollutants
Moulds are often unseen and unnoticed but they are a pollutant.
From water damage, in high humidity regions and humid areas of homes, like bathrooms and basements. Thecommon molds are Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, and Penicillium; Aspergillus is a primary food for dust mites which in turn create health problems.
Bioaerosols are biocontaminants including airborne bacteria and viruses.
Humans, pets, moist surfaces, humidifiers, ventilation systems, drip pans, cooling coils in air handling units are all pollutants are are taken for granted in almost every situation. Some can cause humidifier fever and legionaries disease which can be fatal. Very little is actually known about these diseases and their causes. Cats hair for example is a pollutant in a home situation.
Byproducts of combustion such as PAH, CO, CO2 and Nitrous Oxide are well known for various types of fires and engines which burn anything as a source of power.
Unvented kerosene and gas heaters, gas appliances, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces, tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust from attached garages. All of these are major pollutants
Tobacco Smoke is one of the worst and the inhalation of second hand smoke is just as dangerous and can kill. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes can release blends of over 4,000 compounds
Formaldehyde type pollutants.
Pressed wood products (hardwood, plywood, fiberboard all use glues and it will not be long before every piece of wood in some buildings will be engineered timbers as they call them. Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, Foam and fillings in mattresses, clothing, nail polish, permanent press textiles, almost all glue and adhesives, stoves, fireplaces, automobile exhausts etc are all in our list of pollutants.
Arsenic is commonly used to avoid rot and pest invasion.
Pressure-treated wood products used for decks and especially for children playground equipment is almost always treated with arsenic-containing pesticides
Volatile Organic Compounds
These compounds are found in paints, solvents, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleaners and disinfectants, copy machines, printers, faxes, carpets, moth repellents, air fresheners, dry cleaned clothes, hobby supplies
Food packaging, shower curtains, wall coverings, vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, personal care products, toys, PVC pipe
Pest control poisons, garden and lawn chemicals includes almost every chemical used including weed killers.
Deteriorating or damaged insulation, fireproofing, or acoustical materials and asbestos
Heavy Metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, etc.)
Paints, cars, tobacco smoke, soil and dust; huge industrial pollutants
Building materials such as well water, soil, outside air, smoke detectors, certain clocks and watches;. some of the pollutants can come from Radon which is a radioactive product from Uranium. radon is second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S