Indoor Air Quality: Is Your Home Healthy?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

According to the American Lung Association, the average person spends 90% of their time indoors. With poor indoor air quality contributing to various health problems, it’s important to make sure your home is a healthy one. While most of us know about the major culprits like radon and asbestos, you might be surprised by what common materials and practices can affect the air we breathe. See the full list after the jump!

When we think of poor air quality we might think of old houses with asbestos flooring and lead paint, but new houses can also have adverse affects on our health. Fortunately, the ALA has assembled a list of tips for both new construction and remodeling projects:

1. Plan your home around the local climate – not all materials or techniques work well everywhere.
2. Keep water out – unwanted indoor moisture can come from rain, condensation or groundwater and can lead to problems like mold.
3. Keep radon out – this invisible gas can cause lung cancer and occurs naturally in many parts of the United States.
4. Make sure fresh air can get in – fresh air is an important part of a healthy home, just make sure it isn’t coming from areas of possible pollution (like a garage).
5. Make sure moisture can get out – install and use fans to help pull moisture-laden air out of spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.
6. Use low-VOC paints – volatile organic compounds found in paints are a known carcinogen and should be avoided.
7. Avoid formaldehyde – this is typically found in building materials like pressed wood products.
8. Avoid carpet – carpet collects and holds dirt and other particles and is sometimes made with formaldehyde.
9. Check for lead – homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint and can be harmful if swallowed or inhaled.
10. Watch out for asbestos – found in older homes, asbestos can become friable and damage the lungs if inhaled.

For more information, visit the American Lung Association’s website.

(Image: Flickr Member santheo licensed for use under Creative Commons)