Healthy Homes: Indoor Air Quality
Should You Be Concerned?
Most people send at least half of their lives inside their homes. The air inside can be more harmful to your family's health than the air outdoors. Is the air in your home safe to breathe? It's not always easy to determine if your home has poor air quality. Bad smells and smoke are noticeable, but you cannot see or smell other dangers, like carbon monoxide or radon.
Asthma and Allergies
If someone in your home has health problems or is ill, polluted indoor air can make them feel worse. For example, asthma is a lung disease that affects a growing number of children. Indoor air pollution can make it worse. Insects and other pests can be a real problem for people with asthma or allergies. For example, cockroach and dust mite droppings cause asthma attacks in some people. Pesticides can help fight these pests, but they can be dangerous.
Mold grows in wet or damp places, and often smells musty. Many people are allergic to mold. Some molds are toxic, and coming into contact with large amounts of mold may cause health problems. Talk to a doctor if you think mold is causing health problems for you or your family.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can come from appliances that burn gas, oil, coal, or wood, and are not working as they should. Car exhaust also has carbon monoxide. You cannot see, taste or smell carbon monoxide.
Other Indoor Air Problems
Radon is another gas. It can get into some homes from the ground below them. You cannot see, taste, or smell radon. It is found all over the United States, and can cause lung cancer. In fact, in 2007, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Indoor Air Quality Teacher's Guide (Word)
Indoor Air Quality (PowerPoint: 189 KB)
Indoor Air Quality Pre-test (Word: 72 KB)
Indoor Air Quality Post-Test (Word: 73 KB)