Indoor Air Pollution - Solutions to bad air at home

Turn on the exhaust hood while stove is being used

Open the window when any type of smoke is exposed inside
Finding a solution to poor air quality at home isn't as easy as it seems once you taken out the obvious solutions. To play your role and help somewhat improve the air around you, you are able to do a couple of these things. First one is by using your exhaust hood above your stove. By doing that, you are able to reduce the amount of air pollution that would eventually spread around your home. Another option would be to simply crack open a window. Just doing that can let in fresh air to replace the bad one. It might sound too easy and too good to be true, but some solutions to problems don't always have to be complicated. This is only a couple of ideas that could improve the air. The rest of the ideas will have to come from you. There are some sites provided below to give some tips and maybe it will trigger something inside of your head whenever you come across air pollution at home.

Check out these sources for more tips:

Indoor Air Pollution - Home Kitchens

Could you be cooking up something hazardous to your health?
Everyone has a stove in their household, which they will eventually use to cook their daily meals if needed. Not many know that there have been many deaths or illnesses that are caused by the air pollution within the home that comes from the stove sometimes. An example of some of the deaths that could occur are lung cancer, strokes, anything heart related. Natural gas that come from cooking appliances can make the air quality a bit worse. A way to somewhat prevent this is by using the exhaust hood that's provided above or by simply opening a window, but that can only do so much. Some types of gases that are in the air could be carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. If you're one of those rare few who never use their stove or don't know how, consider yourself lucky this time. Careful the next time you choose to use a stove or anything in your household that might produce some type of gas. You could be cooking much more than you or your family can handle.

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Getting Clear on the Conversation of Indoor Pollutants

     Typically, when speaking of pollutants we are talking on a macro level – entire ecological systems (climate change for example) dominate political and scientific conversations. One will find the local news running a blurb now and again talking about the dangers of something like aerosol sprays, smokes, molds, or gases in the home – a blurb is meant to introduce or promote larger conversation, unfortunately this rarely ever appears on any substantive social level. This leads to a confusion that affects one’s ability understand and engage the issue in a meaningful way.
  So what's the history of this kind of story? Let’s take a brief look at aerosol spray: aerosol was invented in the 1920’s by the USGA – its was designed to pressurize insect spray for American soldiers in the field, finding one of its best uses in the Pacific Theatre of WWII. It was not until the 1970’s that the correlation of aerosol use to ozone damage was made. Becoming aware of this, companies abandoned the ozone depleting chemical – chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) – with EPA regulations and the Clean Air Act following suit. All consumer and most other aerosol products within the U.S. now use hydrocarbons and compressed gases like nitrous oxide – which do not damage the protective ozone layer.
The conversation has moved on – though, you may still find the misnomer that aerosol spray is bad for the environment because it depletes or damages the protective ozone. But why is this? Perhaps the confusion has to do with the mixing of domestic and international perspectives (abroad, especially in undeveloped countries, CFC can still be found in sprays) – perhaps we never really engaged with what troubled us well enough on the first go round – or maybe just because this was true for some of us. This is just one particular case: these ‘bad pictures’ thrive in the gaps between science and our application of ethics – understanding the macro/micro distinction of the conversation is important. 
       Aerosol indeed affects the ozone but not as the traditional view shows. Rather, at ground level via things like volatile organic compounds – also found in fingernail polish, perfumes, mouthwashes, pump hair sprays, and roll-on and stick deodorants etc. – ground level ozone is something we do not want to protect – in this case it is possible to be right for the wrong reasons. Meaning is generated by use, when we use a conversation in the wrong kind of way (we create bad pictures), the meaning is then distorted and thus so is our real understanding. 

L'essence du Suffrance

Last week, one of my fellow students doused herself with “Eau du BarFly” perfume before coming to class. I’m not sure who it was – the scent permeated the room, and the rest of us were too polite to stand up and say, “HEY – WHO STINKS?!”

Perfumes, cologne, and other scented hygiene products can enhance the impression you make on others when used appropriately. When overdone, though, they make things miserable for everyone around you – and what’s worse, many people don’t realize that these substances contribute to a serious indoor air quality problem. 

Fragrances are comprised of chemicals, of course. The Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t require manufacturers to tell us what’s in perfume, soap, detergent, air fresheners, or other scented products, but Professor Anne Steinemann and her team at the University of Washington tested some of these products in the lab – including many purporting to be “green” or “organic” – and discovered that the fragrances emitted over 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are considered to be hazardous, toxic pollutants. They also discovered that while some of the VOCs weren’t, themselves, toxic, they will react with other substances already in the air to produce secondary pollutants. 

This is dangerous for everyone, but people with allergies or chemical sensitivities are especially susceptible to fragrances. Some chemicals found in fragrances produce an “irritant response” when they make contact with the respiratory system. The delicate tissues of the airways swell and the bronchial tubes tighten up, triggering severe asthma attacks. (Baur)

General Population
Chemically Sensitive
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
(Adapted from the survey conducted by Caress & Steinemann)

It’s nice to smell nice. But when you marinate in your favorite perfume, not only are you sitting in your own toxic cloud all day, but you’re also inflicting it on everyone around you. (A week later, the jacket I was wearing in class that day still smells like someone at the nightclub was trying too hard.) It’s annoying at best, and for some people, it’s a genuine threat to their health. Please stop it.


Baur, X., et al. “Occupational asthma to perfume.” Allergy 54:12 (1999): 1334-1335. Wiley Online Library. Web. 24 October, 2015.

Caress, Stanley M. and Anne C. Steinmann. “Prevalence of Fragrance Sensitivity in the American Population.” Journal of Environmental Health. 71.7 (2009): 46-50. Web. 18 October, 2015.

Steinemann, Anne C., et al. “Fragranced Consumer Products: Chemicals emitted, ingredients unlisted.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 31.3 (2011): 328-333. Elsevier ScienceDirect Journals. Web. 20 October, 2015.

Indoor Air Pollution - Fireplaces

Most homes have fireplaces that burn wood. What most don't know is that if you don't burn the wood correctly, it could end pretty badly for you. Not only would it effect the people indoors, but also people near by. Up to 70% of smoke burning out of people's fireplaces can travel outside and into some nearby homes.

Could a cozy fire be burning your life away?

Wood smoke contains particles like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and sulfur dioxide. Wood smoke also contains nitrogen oxides that can cause scarring lung tissue. and contains carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene and dioxin.  Is comfort worth it when you know your family is in danger? I wouldn't burn even a chip of wood in my home knowing this information.

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Health Risks and Ways to Improve Indoor Air

Little do we know that indoor air pollution is far more dangerous than outdoor air. The indoor air levels has many pollutants in which may result in two to five, or even more than one hundred times higher than outdoor levels of air pollutants that human are exposed to. Due to the fact that indoor air pollution is far more concentrated than outdoor air. Indoor air pollution is the presence of one or more contaminants that carry a certain degree of human risk. In which, causes or contributes to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. It is estimated that 2.2 millions deaths each year are due to indoor air pollution, in comparison to 500,000 deaths outdoor. 
The sources that primarily causes indoor air pollution are due to releases of gases or particles, the problem of air quality inside homes isn’t safe which causes a risk to humans. But there are ways to reduce the risk of air pollution that happens indoor. Here are some examples: Keeping your home at a healthy level humidity around 30%-50% can help keep the moisture under control. Another one is making your home a no-smoking zone, cigarettes contains more than 4,000 chemicals that lingers in the air. Also test for radon, whether you have a new or old home. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is a risk of lung cancer. Learning about the risk can help reduce your indoor air pollution and it could make a difference towards a healthier environment indoor for both, you and your family.

Learn more about the risk and ways to improve from the following source:

Indoor Air Pollution - Casinos

Could you possibly be gambling with more than just money?

Millions of people around the world visit casinos to test their luck against the hands of fate. A casino can attract a variety of people and who can blame them? The way casinos are built and set up with all their colors, lights, and games; it's hard not to give your luck a try.

One thing all of these people have in common, but don't realize when they walking into a casino is that their increasing the risk of getting secondhand smoke from another person. Yes, gambling can be exciting, but is it worth it when your life could be on the line instead of money? You may think that casinos would have a solution to this problem, but not many people know that the ventilation in a casino does not protect worker from secondhand smoke and this goes for non-employees as well.

Some could walk out winners and some could walk out with nothing at all

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Building Materials Might Be Affecting Your Health

Is your home affecting the quality of your indoor air?

As we discuss indoor air pollution and how it affects us, we need to start by recognizing indoor air pollutants in our homes. A major contributor to poor indoor quality is building materials and paint products, especially in homes built before 1978. Old or new, certain building products often give off gases that, as they age, become harmful to indoor air quality. Most common is formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds and if using multiple building materials together the fumes could mix several different chemical fumes.  Formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals are emitted by paints, adhesives and even cleaning products as they age in our homes.

Older buildings (built before 1978), especially in the Portland area, are known to have problems with lead exposure from paint and asbestos in building products. Constant lead exposure can lead to lead poisoning which can be extremely hazardous to small children and pregnant women as it can cause serious health problems. Lead poisoning and long term exposure can even affect child development.  If lead and asbestos is found in your home, tearing out or demolishing problem areas can release these toxins into the air which can potentially be more harmful.

What can be done to reduce the indoor air pollution in your home? If you are starting a new home remodeling project, make sure to use low emission products and that building materials and new carpet have been aired out in a well ventilated space before installing. If disturbing older buildings can not be avoided, follow recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Lead and Asbestos) or seek professional help.

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Indoor Air Pollution

Rich or Poor, We All Have to Breath in Order to Survive

      In door air pollution is an ongoing problem, specifically looking at how it affects developing countries. Although it does have an affect on the United States as well it is not as substantial when compared to developing countries. One thing that all humans have in common no matter location, is that we have to eat and stay warm throughout the winter season. Unfortunately because other countries are not fully developed the sources they use to cook and heat their homes are very dangerous. In order for developing countries to achieve their needs, they use materials such has animal dung, crop residue, and wood. When these materials are burned to generate heat the combustion from them are highly dangerous to inhale. Similarly in the Untied States many homes are occupies by stove tops for cooking, the nitrogen dioxide that is emitted when used it is also dangerous to inhale. 
       Possible solutions to this problem could be ensuring that when using these dangerous materials you have proper ventilation. This would not eliminate entirely the dangers of inhaling these dangerous chemicals but it could possibly decrease the effect. On the other hand it would be ideal to educate developing countries and provide them with safer alternatives that could also heat their food and homes. Developing countries should not have to compromise their health in order to fulfill needs that are essential to survival. 

Possible ventilation solutions that decrease the amount of dangerous chemicals one has to inhale in their homes.

These solutions can also be applied to the developing countries when it comes to the use of materials and proper ventilation is a must. 

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