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When the Indoor Air Gets Polluted

The air inside your home plays a huge role in the way you and the rest of your family feel on a day-to-day basis.

Most of us worry about the air quality outside. We have smog advisories, air quality alerts, and it seems like every day I see something in the news about pollution or gas emissions.

But you want to know the hard facts? The air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. In some cases, it’s 100 times worse!

We are constantly exposed to pollution, toxins, pesticides, gases — even radon. Most of the time, these things get diluted into the air. But they can also find their way into homes through cracks in foundation walls and floors, through unfinished floors, windows, sumps, vents or gaps around pipes and drains. The problem is that when these pollutants get into our homes and can’t escape, they start to accumulate. In high concentrations, radon and other toxins can be big health risks.

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from uranium in the ground. Uranium is everywhere, and when uranium starts to break down it creates a gas. This gas is radon. The more uranium there is, the more radon there is. So chances are there are higher radon levels in areas where uranium is mined.

Health Canada says radon is linked to about 16 per cent of all lung cancer deaths in Canada. That makes radon the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

But even minor symptoms like headaches, feeling unusually tired, itching or burning eyes, irritated skin, nasal congestion, a dry throat or nausea could be due to your home’s indoor air quality.

If you or anyone else in your home deals with these kinds of symptoms on a regular basis, the air inside your home might be making them sick. Even the materials that we use to build a house can lead to poor indoor air quality, like VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in paint and kitchen cabinets, or the adhesives and glues in carpeting and flooring. Some granite countertops have been known to emit radon, too. It makes sense since granite comes from the ground, where there’s also uranium.

The good news is that more home inspection providers are starting to offer IAQ (indoor air quality (IAQ) and radon inspections.

Read the full article: http://www.leaderpost.com/health/When+indoor+gets+polluted/9122591/story.html