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Potential Sources of Indoor Pollutants

Bathrooms, Kitchen and Laundry Room

  • Bathrooms or kitchens without vents. Proper ventilation is a key factor in improving your home’s air quality. Vents cut down on mold and mildew in damp areas.
  • Laundry room with unvented dryer. A dryer should be vented to the outside of the house to minimize the spread of allergens such as mold, mildew and pollen.
  • cleaning products stored under kitchen sink or near air conditioning unit.
    Gases can be released from chemicals found in many household products. When they are placed near an air conditioner, fumes can be transmitted through the system and dispersed throughout the house. A better place to store them is in the garage.
  • Dirty refrigerator drip pans. Mold and mildew can collect in this damp area.When cleaning, don’t forget to check the bottom of the refrigerator.

Bedrooms and Furnishings

  • Dust mites in bedding. Frequently clean the bedding in hot water to reduce the number of these common allergens.
  • Dry-cleaned goods. Gases can be released from the chemicals used in dry cleaning. Air out dry-cleaned goods before storing them in a closet.
  • Formaldehyde in carpet, draperies or paneling. Have products containing formaldehyde aired out before having them installed in your home.

Structures and Systems

  • Dirty air conditioners. Air conditioner filters should be changed monthly or according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Your air conditioning system, including the coils, should be serviced by a professional yearly.
  • Unventilated attic. A home’s air quality can be threatened when pollutants are trapped inside. If your home doesn’t have an attic vent, consider having one installed.
  • Water damage around windows, roof or basement. Damp areas can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. If water damage occurs, have affected areas replaced.
  • Asbestos in floor tiles. Asbestos is used in some tiles and for thermal insulation and fireproofing. Asbestos is considered relatively harmless when intact, but health risks such as lung cancer can result when asbestos deteriorates or is damaged. Periodically check tiles for damage. Do not attempt to remove asbestos without professional help.
  • Lead-based paint. Most paint manufactured before 1978 contains lead. If the paint is in good condition, leave it undisturbed. If it is chipping, do not try to remove the paint yourself. Hire a professional to correct your lead paint problems.
  • Lead in water supply. If you suspect a problem, have your water tested by a professional.
  • Radon in earth and rock beneath home. Radon gas can enter a home through dirt floors, cracks in concrete walls or floor drains. Purchase a radon test kit if you suspect a problem.

Other Items to Consider

  • Dogs or cats. Pet dander and hair is the leading cause of allergies. When possible, at least keep your pet out of the bedroom area – a place where you spend a lot of time.
  • Environmental tobacco smoke. Do not smoke in your home or allow others to do so. Smoke from cigarettes, pipes or cigars can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, lung cancer and other health risks.
  • Pesticides. Do not store pesticides inside your home. Open windows when using a pesticide indoors.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission; American Lung Association; Consumer

Federation of America; Environmental Protection Agency