Recognizing indoor air pollution and empowering homeowners to take action.
Story by Amelia Lyles
Breathtaking scenery and outdoor air quality make South Carolina’s Lowcountry a cherished region. However, the focus on preserving the outdoor environment often overshadows an emerging concern: indoor air pollution. It is vital for homeowners to understand the sources of indoor air pollution, grasp its impact on health and take steps to enhance the quality of air inside their homes.
Unveiling sneaky sources
Humidity thrives in the Lowcountry, providing a favorable breeding ground for mold. High water tables in the region contribute to excessive mold growth within homes. Rhonda Priest, a local business owner with expertise in indoor air quality, emphasizes the importance of adequate home ventilation to prevent mold growth. Another common source of indoor air pollution is asbestos, a toxic mineral often found in the popcorn ceilings of Lowcountry homes. Despite its production ban in the U.S., asbestos is still imported and used in small quantities, posing a threat to homeowners. Even seemingly innocuous factors like pet dander can significantly impact indoor air quality.
Inhaling the dangers
Indoor air pollutants compromise your home and pose serious health risks. The confined space of a house amplifies the concentration of air pollutants, increasing the volume inhaled and the potential for health issues. Headaches, fatigue, dizziness and respiratory and heart diseases are among the risks associated with poor indoor air quality. Priest emphasizes the importance of indoor air-quality testing for personal health and the well-being of loved ones, visitors or potential buyers when selling a house. It’s crucial to remain vigilant, as these dangers may not always be visible.
Safeguarding your sanctuary
Despite the hidden dangers of indoor air pollution, homeowners can take preventative measures to ensure cleaner and healthier indoor environments. Air-duct cleaning every 18 months (or two to three years if no kids or pets are present) eliminates debris from circulating air. Promptly investigating and addressing any abnormal developments in the home is essential, with the assistance of certified restoration firms when needed. Also maintaining humidity below 60 percent is crucial, as higher levels promote moisture, mold and bacteria growth.
PRO TIP – Clean green
Many conventional cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to indoor air pollution. Opt for natural, eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice.