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A well equiped living room

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:

  • Avoid Use of Unvented Gas or Kerosene Space Heaters
  • Keep Gas Appliances and Furnaces Properly Adjusted
  • Install and Use Exhaust Fans
  • Change Filters on Heating/Cooling Systems and Air Cleaners
  • Increase of Supply of Outside Air
  • 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:

  • Stop Smoking
  • Discourage Others From Smoking
  • Isolate Smokers Outdoors

Formaldehyde

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:

  • Use Products With Lower Emission Rates of Formaldehyde
  • Keep Humidity Low in House
  • Increase Ventilation
  • 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:

  • Buy Only What You Need
  • Read Labels and Follow Instructions
  • Use in Well-Ventilated Areas or Outdoors
  • Hang Dry-Cleaned Clothes in an Open Area for About 6 Hours

Radon

Source: Local geology, soil, water 

Health Effect: Lung cancer, possibility of stomach cancer

What to do:

  • Seal Cracks and Openings in the Basement
  • Ventilate Crawl Space
  • Subslab Suction
  • Increase Ventilation

Pesticides

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:

  • Use Non-chemicals if Possible
  • Avoid Storage in the House
  • Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

Asbestos

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

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

What to do:

  • Test the Suspected Material
  • Remove Asbestos by a Trained Contractor or Develop a Maintenance Plan
  • 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:

  • Vacuum Regularly
  • Removal of Lead-Based Paint

Bioaerosols

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:

  • Remove the Source
  • Maintenance of Equipment
  • Humidity Control to 40% to 60%
  • Use of Filters in Ventilation
  • 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?

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