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 items VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Bricks and cement Silicone particles
Carpets and rugs Items 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 products VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Computers, tablets mobile phones Ozone
Deodorants VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Gas Furnace Carbon Monoxide
Faulty plumbing Fungi and bacteria.
Feather bedding Dust
Foam bedding VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Gas cooking stove Nitrogen oxides, primarily nitrogen


Inadequately cleaned AC systems Fungi and bacteria.
Incense VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), particulate matter (PM). Gases like sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen.
Insect Repellant Pyrethrin
Insulation material VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Laundry products VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Paint and varnish VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Particle board furniture VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Pathogens Many 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.
Perfumes VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Pets Dander
Polished wood furniture VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Potpourri VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Printers, copiers and fax machines Ozone
Room fresheners VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Scented candles VOC’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 flooring VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Wood Burner PM2.5
Wooden flooring VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)