Monday, March 5, 2007

Indoor air pollution

A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that indoor air can be more seriously polluted than outside air. Household cleaning products are among the many sources of this pollution. In particular, studies carried out by the EPA have found levels of certain pollutants to be two to five times higher inside homes than outside, and inside is where people are estimated to spend 90 percent of their time. This is of particular concern for the young, elderly, and chronically ill, who are more susceptible to the effects of pollutants.

A common source of indoor air pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted by a variety of household cleaning products and air fresheners. Health effects from indoor air pollutants can be experienced upon exposure or possibly years later, depending on the type and amount of the chemical and the duration of exposure. More immediate health effects include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches; dizziness; and fatigue. Long-term effects may include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.

To learn more about indoor air quality, visit the American Lung Association’s Indoor Air Quality Web site, or the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site.