Contaminants That Threaten Indoor Air Quality, Part 1

January 14th, 2020 | Wasatch Clean Air

While many simply assume that indoor air is cleaner and safer than the air outside, this simply isn’t always the case. Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollutants can reach levels two to five times higher than outdoor areas if the indoor area in question is not properly protected.

At Wasatch Clean Air, we’re here to ensure the indoor air quality for you and your family remains high and healthy at all times through a variety of services, from air duct and dryer vent cleaning to providing home air purifier systems to those who desire them. What are some of the primary contaminants our solutions will remove from your home and your breathing air, and why are they a risk to human health? This two-part blog will go over a variety of such contaminants and how you can best protect your home from them.

contaminants indoor air quality

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Maybe the single most common type of contaminant in indoor air – but also one of the easiest to remedy, luckily – is a broad category known as volatile organic compounds, or VOC. The VOC terminology covers a variety of pollutants or chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at normal room temperature, meaning they’re likely to linger in air and be breathed in easily by humans. Examples of VOCs include benzene or formaldehyde, which have direct links to cancer risks.

VOCs can lead to a wide range of symptoms, from none at all to serious health risks like ENT irritation, headaches, nausea and major organ or central nervous system damage. As we just noted, some also include cancer risks.

In addition to our air purification methods, one top piece of advice for limiting VOCs in your air is properly storing all chemicals, solvents, paint thinners and wood preservatives outside the house, as they may have high VOC content. There are also certain candle types to avoid – those made with paraffin or paraffin blends are generally high in VOCs and should not be burned indoors.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is another common substance that can contaminate indoor areas, especially if it reaches higher quantities. Poor ventilation in the home can lead to high levels of CO2, which is why areas like air duct and dryer vent cleaning from our professionals are so important. CO2 may also form through burning fossil fuels or through malfunctioning furnaces or air conditioners.

CO2 is a particular risk because it’s colorless and odorless, meaning you may not immediately notice it if it’s contaminating a space in your home. By ensuring strong ventilation throughout the home, however, you stop CO2 from building up too much in any single area.

For more on the kinds of contaminants we help prevent in your home, or to learn about any of our air quality services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Clean Air today.