learning-center-chemicals
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CHEMICALS

What Contributes to Poor Indoor Air Quality?

The primary sources of indoor exposure to airborne chemicals are products used in interior environments, including furnishings, building materials and other household and office products, that can emit thousands of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particles into the air. Of all the culprits that can affect IAQ, chemical emissions are the most harmful as they can contribute to a wide range of health effects.

The US EPA names source control as the best strategy to reduce indoor air pollution and limit chemical exposure.  Source control can include selecting products that have been GREENGUARD Certified or Green Seal Certified for low chemical emissions. These products have been tested for more than 10,000 chemicals to ensure they are safe and healthy for indoor environments.

Minimize Chemical Pollutants

  • Avoid smoking indoors. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of indoor pollutants at high concentrations.
  • Choose low-emitting products that have been third-party certified and labeled by reputable organizations such as GREEENGUARD and Green Seal. Be wary of manufacturer claims of “no VOC”, “natural” or “alternative.”
  • Minimize the use of harsh cleaners, solvent-based cleaners or cleaners with strong fragrances.
  • Certain activities, such as paint stripping, hobby soldering or gluing, painting, sanding and rock polishing, may create high levels of pollution and should be performed outside.
  • Control car and appliance exhaust. Do not idle cars, lawnmowers or other engines in the garage, especially those that are attached to the house.

Keep It Clean

  • Buy machine washable bedding. Wash pillows, sheets and comforters weekly to reduce exposure to allergens, including dust mites.  Clean your mattress.
  • Consider removing shoes at the door to minimize dust and dirt tracked in from the outdoors.
  • Place walk off mats at all entrances to your home.
  • Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaners with disposable bags and microfiber cloths for surface dust removal.
  • Regularly clean carpets, upholstery and other items that hold soils and particles.

 

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