Americans tend to view their homes as safe havens. What few people realize is that the air in their home can be more polluted than outdoor air, leading to health problems.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, people spend almost 90 percent of their time indoors. Due to extended exposure, indoor pollution might cause more health problems than outdoor pollution.
What causes indoor pollution? Common, synthetic materials, like paints, plastics and household cleaners, all leak chemical emissions. Sensitive people can react to anything from wax to furniture polish. Building materials, outdoor pollution, dust and other substances can create allergy symptoms.
Mold, one leading cause of indoor allergies, can grow inside and outside the home in any household component. Once it develops, mold proves impossible to completely remove, making it an especially serious threat. Mold can grow wherever water flows. Water intrusion can lead to mold growth within 24 hours.
The Mayo Clinic estimated that over 40 million Americans suffered from chronic sinus infections and that 96 percent of those cases were caused by molds. According to the Centers for Disease Control, indoor allergens can lead to infections and respiratory problems.
Look for the following signs of poor indoor air health:
- Have you had problems with floods or leaks? Even the smallest damp area allows mold to grow. Mold can also hide in ceilings, walls and attics.
- Have you or any of your family members suffered from unexplained respiratory problems, chronic headaches, coughing or congestion?
- Is your home well ventilated? Poor ventilation helps mold grow. To prevent mold growth, keep air moving and humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent.
If you suspect mold, call a professional to inspect your home.