Indoor air pollution is a key contributor to disease among children. Children, with developing respiratory systems are more vulnerable to dust particles, allergens and other airborne toxins that are emitted from everything from paint to plastics to household dust and mold spores that accumulate inside our homes.

Some of the most common sources of indoor air pollution include:

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke is a complex mixture of chemical compounds, many of which are considered carcinogenic and are harmful to all people, but especially children. In fact, the vaporized compounds in secondhand smoke can be more harmful than those in firsthand smoke.

Heating Pollutants

In Canada, our homes are primarily heated with safe heating appliances, such as furnaces burning natural gas or propane, but these “safe” appliances are only safe if they are in proper working order. Things like cracked heat exchangers, other damaged components or improper venting can all lead to health hazards from these appliances.

Dust accumulation leads to hot spots on the heat exchanger, which can lead to cracks, damage and the release of carbon monoxide. There are a couple practices to help ensure the safety of a home’s occupants in regards to heating pollutants. The first is to have properly maintained and non-expired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed on each floor of a home. The second is to ensure that the furnace is regularly cleaned and inspected to ensure dust doesn’t build up and that no visible damage or stress has occurred.

Exterior sources

If you have an attached garage, it is important to ensure that the doorway between the garage and home is properly sealed. If a vehicle, heater or other combusting appliance is run in the garage, the possibility for carbon monoxide and other exhaust gases to be present is always there. A properly installed exterior door with weather stripping and double acting hinges can ensure a proper seal between the door and the inside of the house!

Interior dust and mold accumulation

The accumulation and circulation of interior dust, allergen, mold spores and other particles can also be particularly harmful for children who suffer from prolonged exposure. Increases in the development of allergies, and increased risk and frequency of asthma attacks can both be attributed to indoor air pollution caused by dust and allergens.

Paying attention to indoor air pollution causes and minimizing risk and exposure through regular household cleaning as well as regular furnace and duct cleaning is one of the best ways to minimize exposure to harmful developmental respiratory problems in a home.

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