Indoor Air Pollutants

Louisville Indoor Air Quality Service

The following is adapted from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission.

By-products of Combustion (such as CO, CO2, NOX)

Source: Unvented kerosene and gas heaters, gas appliances, wood and gas-burning fireplaces, leaking chimneys and furnaces, tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust in attached garages

Health Effect: Eye, nose, and throat irritation, impaired lung function and respiratory function in children, bronchitis, lung cancer, flu-like symptoms.

What to do

  1. Avoid use of unvented gas or kerosene space heaters
  2. Keep gas appliances and furnaces properly adjusted
  3. Install and use exhaust fans
  4. Change filters on heating/cooling systems and air cleaners
  5. Increase of supply of outside air
  6. Proper location of air intakes to avoid exhaust from vehicles

Environmental tobacco smoke

Source: Cigarettes, cigars, pipes
Health Effect: Eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, pneumonia. Increased risk of respiratory and ear infections in children. Lung cancer and increased risk of heart disease.

What to do:

  1. Stop smoking
  2. Discourage others from smoking
  3. Isolate smokers outdoors


Source: Pressed wood products (hardwood, plywood wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard) used in buildings and furniture, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, permanent press textiles, glue, ETS, vehicle exhaust, stoves, fireplaces
Health Effect: Eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, fatigue, rashes, and allergic reactions. Causes cancer in animals. Death at very high concentration.

What to do

  1. Use products with lower emission rates of formaldehyde
  2. Keep humidity low in house
  3. Increase ventilation
  4. Aging or baking of products

Other volatile organic compounds

Source: Paints, solvents, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleaners and disinfectants, moth repellents, air fresheners, hobby supplies, and dry cleaned clothes
Health Effect: Eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, damage to kidney and central nervous system. Some cause cancer in animals. Some may cause cancer in humans.

What to do:

  1. Buy only what you need
  2. Read labels and follow instructions
  3. Use in well-ventilated areas or outdoors
  4. Hang dry cleaned clothes in an open area for about 6 hours


Source: Local geology, soil, water
Health Effect: Lung cancer, possibility of stomach cancer

What to do

  1. Seal cracks and openings in the basement
  2. Ventilate crawl space
  3. Subslab suction
  4. Increase ventilation


Source: Garden and lawn chemicals, poisons for pest control
Health Effect: Eye, nose, and throat irritation, damage to central nervous system and kidney, cancer
What to do:

  1. Use non-chemicals if possible
  2. Avoid storage in the house
  3. Follow manufacturer’s instructions


Source: Deteriorating or damaged insulation, fireproofing, or acoustical materials

Health Effect: Cancer and lung diseases (smokers at higher risk)

What to do

  1. Test the suspected material
  2. Remove asbestos by a trained contractor or develop a maintenance plan
  3. Encapsulation of material containing asbestos

Heavy Metals

Source: Paints, automobiles, tobacco smoke, soil, and dust
Health Effect: Headaches, irritation in mouth, rash, excessive perspiration, kidney damage
What to do:

  1. Vacuum regularly
  2. Removal of lead based paint


Source: Humans, pets, moist surfaces, humidifiers, ventilation systems, drip pans, cooling coils in air handling units, plants, outside air
Health Effect: Legionnaires’ disease, humidifier fever, influenza

What to do:

  1. Remove the source
  2. Maintenance of equipment
  3. Humidity control to 40% to 60%
  4. Use of filters in ventilation
  5. Air cleaning by the use of disinfectants

Consider an air purifier, UV lamp, and whole-house duct cleaning to improve your indoor air quality.

Got a question about heating, cooling, air quality,
plumbing, drains, sewers, or water treatment?

Who Is MAX?


Max is an important part of our team. He is more than just a cartoon character. Max represents our commitment to quality work, craftsmanship, pride, and our passion to serve our clients and community. We celebrate this mentality through Max because these are the values that drive us to be the area’s most complete and comprehensive home service company. So, now when you see Max, you’ll know the story behind the man with the mustache!

Our Coverage Area

Subscribe for Savings and Tips in Your Email!