Common Indoor Air Pollutants

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common indoor air pollutants

Poor indoor air quality is an important environmental health concern that people often overlook. Generally, people do not realize how poor indoor air quality can compromise their health and overall quality of life.  This is particularly true for senior citizens and people who have allergies or breathing problems.

You may be surprised to find out what items can pollute indoor air. Here is a list of a few of them:


Although candles may add a touch of ambiance to your home environment, they also release toxic chemicals into the air. Traditional candles are made of paraffin wax, a petroleum by-product of the gasoline industry. Most of the scents added to candles also contain harmful chemicals that can trigger asthma attacks. If you use candles, only burn them in well-ventilated rooms.

Air Fresheners

Air fresheners (room sprays, plug-in deodorizers, odor neutralizers, etc.) do not get rid of smells; they just mask them with perfume. Toxic chemicals that can be found in air fresheners include formaldehyde, petroleum-based artificial fragrances, ethanol, phenol, and benzyl alcohol. These chemicals are known to cause headaches, rashes, dizziness, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems. Severity and triggers, as well as symptoms, vary from person to person. But when used in a confined area, the number of toxins in a small space can be problematic.


Many industries use formaldehyde.  It is used to produce wood, plywood, glue and adhesives, permanent press fabrics, and some paints and coatings. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring chemical, but at high concentrations formaldehyde vapors are dangerous. It may irritate the upper respiratory system as well as cause nausea and headaches.

Art Supplies

Art supplies like glue and markers include chemicals that can irritate respiratory systems. Reduce the level of these chemicals in your home by relegating potentially toxic art supplies to the outdoors. If you do use art supplies indoors, be sure to draw additional fresh air into the room by opening windows and using fans to increase circulation.

Indoor air quality during the fall and winter months is especially important because you spend more time inside. We recommend opening windows when you can to circulate in some fresh air and to reassess the products you are using in your home to keep you and your family healthy.

Are you concerned about your home’s indoor air quality? Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We can make recommendations on how to improve your indoor air quality.