Breathing. It’s the natural and automatic process that we as humans rely on to oxygenate our bodies. We inhale and exhale 20,000 times in a single day without ever thinking about the air we breathe or what’s in it.
So you may be surprised to know that the very air you depend on for survival may contain dangerous pollutants. Many of the most common pulmonary diseases directly stem from the air in the home.
Diseases Caused by Polluted Air
Pneumonia is a severe and potentially deadly infection that causes the air pockets in the lungs to become inflamed and fill with fluids. While you can contract pneumonia in various ways, airborne pollutants can dramatically increase the risk of infection.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO): “Exposure to household air pollution almost doubles the risk for childhood pneumonia and is responsible for 45% of all pneumonia deaths in children less than five years old. Household air pollution is also a risk for acute lower respiratory infections (pneumonia) in adults, and contributes to 28% of all adult deaths to pneumonia.”
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Similarly to pneumonia, the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) significantly increases when exposed to airborne pollutants such as smoke and soot emitted by fireplaces, wood stoves, and even certain types of candles. WHO states that airborne contaminants inside the home cause a quarter of all adult COPD deaths in low and middle-income countries.
Kerosine, wood, charcoal and coal, all put off carcinogens when burned. However, these toxic chemicals can have a catastrophic effect on lung health. Nearly 17% of all lung cancer-related deaths result from inhaling carcinogens.
Dangerous Indoor Air Pollutants
Identifying indoor air pollutants can be a tricky process. Some contaminants such as smoke can be easily identified, while others are undetectable to the human senses. Here are a few of the most common household air pollutants.
Radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil. It’s colorless and odorless, making it impossible to detect without a radon detector or professional radon test. In addition, long-term radon exposure has been proven to contribute to lung cancer and various other respiratory issues.
Mold: Mold not only damages the surfaces of your home but your body as well. It reproduces by releasing toxic spores into the air, and these spores can cause severe allergic reactions.
Smoke: Smoke is a mixture of gases and microscopic particles released when a substance is burned. Fireplaces and wood stoves without proper ventilation can quickly put massive quantities of smoke and soot into the air of your home. If left unregulated, smoke can create health issues commonly seen in cigarette smokers.
Protect Your Family With Professional Air Inspection and Purification
If you have questions or concerns about what is floating around in your air, schedule an indoor air quality test today!
The indoor air quality specialists at Air Quality Consultants will be able to identify and eliminate any airborne pollutants that could be putting you and your family at risk for developing a severe pulmonary illness.