Where does indoor air pollution come from?

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We talked recently about the sources of air pollution lurking in our homes. There are up to 60 causes of indoor air pollution. Some, like household cleaning products and scented candles, are easy to spot. However there are many every day household items that may not be so obvious. So we decided to put together a list. Everyday items found in most modern homes that contribute to poor indoor air quality. We’ve also listed the types of pollutants they emit.

Beauty itemsVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Bricks and cementSilicone particles
Carpets and rugsItems can trap air borne pollutants like dust and pet dander. New items can be treated with chemicals that emit VOC’s such as formaldehyde.
Cleaning productsVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Computers, tablets mobile phonesOzone
DeodorantsVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Gas FurnaceCarbon Monoxide
Faulty plumbingFungi and bacteria.
Feather beddingDust
Foam beddingVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Gas cooking stoveNitrogen oxides, primarily nitrogen

dioxide.

Inadequately cleaned AC systemsFungi and bacteria.
IncenseVOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), particulate matter (PM). Gases like sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen.
Insect RepellantPyrethrin
Insulation materialVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Laundry productsVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Paint and varnishVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Particle board furnitureVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
PathogensMany pathogens such as bacterial droplets, viral droplets, and fungal spores remain suspended in the household air after an infection in the family. These droplets settle on household surfaces, further spreading infection.
PerfumesVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
PetsDander
Polished wood furnitureVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
PotpourriVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Printers, copiers and fax machinesOzone
Room freshenersVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Scented candlesVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Tobacco smoke, first, second and third hand.Tobacco smoke contains 7,357 different chemical compounds such as benzene, CO, PAHs, heterocyclic amines, cyanide, formaldehyde, terpenoids, phenols, nicotine, and heavy metals.

These compounds have been termed “obesogens”, as they lead to metabolic syndrome and obesity

Upholstery such as heavy drapes, cushions, throws, pillows and sofa covers.Fire retardant materials contain Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PDBEs)
Vinyl flooringVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Wood BurnerPM2.5
Wooden flooringVOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)