There’s a famous saying that goes, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” It’s completely false, however, when it comes to health and medical matters. In this case, even something as simple as the air we breathe should be examined as it contains dangerous substances that could wreak havoc in our bodies when left unchecked.
Although everyone is aware of common pollutants such as engine emissions and cigarette smoke, they only comprise a small fraction of all the harmful substances in the air. Plus, you get exposed to them usually while outside. This scenario fails to meet another, more disturbing, fact: most airborne toxins are found indoors – in work places, school classrooms, and in our homes.
With that in mind, understanding what other agents are lurking in the air will allow you to protect yourself and your loved ones more effectively. So without further ado, here are some other harmful substances in the air that we breathe.
You’ve probably heard that there are microbes in the air. But Scientific American magazine claims what’s truly alarming is that the types of bacteria and viruses in the air are more or less the same with those in the soil. A research team headed by microbial ecologist Gary Andersen found that 1,800 different kinds of micro-organisms are present in the air. Many of them can cause serious diseases like diarrhea and ulcers.
Although each person has antibodies, viruses and bacteria are very fast in evolving. Thus, new strains develop regularly. This is why it’s crucial that you always get enough rest and nutrition so you don’t compromise your immune system.
Burned Wood Particles
As relaxing as it is to gather near a fireplace or bonfire, doing it frequently puts you at a higher risk of inhaling dangerous wood-burning particles. Fortunately, this is more prevalent in rural areas where wood-burning stoves are commonly used.
The Environment Protection Authority of Tasmania explained that wood burned properly only results in releasing carbon dioxide (CO2). Realistically speaking, however, improper burning occurs more often, which then leads to the dissipation of “products of incomplete combustion” (PICs) into the air. Scientists have proven that several of these substances can cause respiratory and/or circulatory issues.
It effectively shows that the claim that HVAC systems are healthier and safer has some bearing. This is much more relevant today considering that smart home heating systems are now available on the market. The smart heating solutions listed by Tech Advisor UK, for example, have various features that suit all sorts of users.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Similar to the aforementioned PICs, the air inside your home might also be riddled with “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs). The US Environmental Protection Agency specified that VOC concentration indoors is up to 10 times higher than outdoors.
Paint is among the top items that contain VOCs. To give you an idea of how dangerous these substances are, consider this: typical house paint contains as many as 300 toxins, half of which are classified as carcinogenic.
Of course, using paint products is inevitable for things such as DIY projects. Nonetheless, manufacturers are now acknowledging facts like the aforementioned. As a result, there are now alternative options such as low-VOC paints, which may be used for a variety of applications, from painting walls to fences to furniture and so on. Moreover, certain types of paints also meet other specifications. To illustrate, take for instance the wide array of fence paints on Screwfix, which includes products with quick drying properties and single coating coverage. VOC concentration is at its highest levels when paint is freshly applied and while it dries, hence it’s advisable to finish the painting process as fast as possible.
Pet dander, which is comprised of an animal’s dead skin cells, is also a leading cause of allergic reactions when inhaled. At the very least, irritation may occur in people without pet allergies. The highest concentrations of pet dander are found in places where pets repeatedly stay, such as their sleeping beds or kennels, so be sure to clean the areas frequently.
One final bit of advice: You can lessen the toxicity of the air inside your home by placing certain species of plants that are known to absorb airborne harmful substances. They were highlighted in a previous Awareness Junkie post about NASA’s discovery.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.