How can the air inside our homes be so bad for us? Over the years, buildings have been made more airtight to conserve energy. Unfortunately, when air is trapped inside the home, so are the pollutants. EPA studies have found that pollutant levels inside the home can be two to five times higher than outdoors. After some activities, indoor air pollution levels can be 100 times higher than outdoors.
How do you know if the air inside your home is dangerous to your health? Many indoor air pollutants cannot be detected by our senses. The symptoms they produce can be vague and sometimes similar, making it hard to attribute the symptoms to a specific cause. Some symptoms may not show up until years later, making it more difficult to determine the source. Common symptoms of exposure to indoor air pollutants include headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, itchy nose, and scratchy throat. These symptoms may be mistaken for flu symptoms. More serious effects of breathing polluted indoor air are asthma, other breathing disorders, and cancer.
Sources of pollutants can be found throughout the home. The good news is that everyone can reduce indoor air pollution.
If you would like to purchase printed copies of the Healthy Indoor Air fact sheets, please call 217-265-6410 to speak with an Extension staff member.