For years, Dallas Residents, Business’ and The Central Texas Council of Governments have been fighting to improve the quality of the air we breathe outdoors. The efforts have paid off: levels of outdoor air pollutants have improved significantly. More recently the air quality battle has shifted indoors.
The EPA estimates that the air quality within our homes is up to 70% more polluted than the outdoor air. It is a common misconception to think the filter we replace in our Heating and Air Conditioning System is to control the indoor air quality. Indeed is does help and can be used to improve indoor air quality however its main purpose is to keep the inside of our Heating and Air Conditioning System clean. This prolong is life and energy efficiency of our systems.
The air quality inside North Texas homes and office buildings is often more polluted than outdoor air with levels of certain chemicals being many times higher than they are outside. Household cleaning products, building materials, cracked heat exchangers inside our homes furnace, unsealed attic access openings, stored paint products, pesticides, mold and second hand smoke are all big contributors to poor indoor air quality. Inhaling these pollutants no doubt is not good for your health and, in some cases can be dangerous.
Indoor Air Quality Testing can provide the peace of mind your family deserves. Call today to schedule an appointment to have your IAQ test 972-235-2600. Many benefits come with achieving improved indoor air quality:
- Decrease in Allergies
- Decrease in Respiratory related issues
- Less Headaches and Fatigue
- Less Anxiety related to why you or family are sick all the time
- Reduction in dust collection on furniture and surfaces
Efficient Home Solutions can help with:
- Air Sample Testing around your home to check for Mold and VOC’s
- Sealing up the envelope of your home to prevent attic air from entering your home
- Improved sealing of ductwork and filtration of the air through your HVAC system
Combustion pollutants are gases and particles produced when fuels like gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or coal are incompletely burned. Common indoor sources of combustion pollutants include woodstoves, fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, and water heaters.
The major pollutants released are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles. By interfering with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, carbon monoxide can cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from headaches, dizziness, and fatigue to nausea and disorientation. Individuals with heart or lung problems are particularly sensitive to the effects of carbon monoxide; in people with chronic heart disease, for example, carbon monoxide triggers episodes of chest pain.
Nitrogen dioxide causes eye, nose and throat irritation. It can also irritate the lining of the lung causing shortness of breath and, at high concentration or with prolonged exposure, increase the risk of respiratory infections. Children and individuals with respiratory diseases are at greatest risk from exposure.
Be sure to have your Heater or Furnace checked every year prior starting your system, through the spring, summer and falls months there may have been the need for contractors to provide repairs, maintenance or installation of products that can affect your heater or furnaces ability to effectively vent combustion pollutants.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that is widely used to manufacture building materials like particleboard, fiberboard, insulation products and plywood. Products made with formaldehyde emit—or “off-gas”—small amounts of the gas, and low levels of formaldehyde can typically be detected in indoor air. Emissions are generally highest when the products are new and gradually decrease as they age.
Burning materials such as wood, kerosene, and natural gas also produces small amounts of formaldehyde and can contribute to indoor formaldehyde levels.
Health effects of formaldehyde depend on the level of exposure and can include burning and watery eyes; nose and throat irritation; coughing and difficulty breathing; or severe allergic reactions. In addition, formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in animals used for scientific research. Scientists are continuing to study long-term health effects in humans.
Pesticides substances meant for attracting, seducing, destroying, or mitigating pests. They are a class of biocides and are their use is widespread. It’s estimated that more than eight of every 10 households in the United States use pesticides of some type, whether it’s to rid the kitchen of ants, the garden of bothersome weeds, or fleas and ticks. (Many use them even when there’s no significant problem, simple for preventative purposes.)
Although these products successfully eliminate many nuisances around the house, they often leave behind something potentially more hazardous: pesticide residues. Measurable levels of numerous pesticides can be found in the air inside many homes. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 80 percent of most people’s exposure to pesticides actually occurs indoors. Here are some common pesticides used and found around home:
- Roach sprays and baits
- Rat and other Rodent poisons
- Insect repellants
- Flea and Tick Shampoos, powders, dips
- Weed Killers
- Products used to Kill Mold or Mildew
Despite their common use, surprisingly little is known about the hazards associated with this type of pesticide exposure. Most medical research has focused on people, such as agricultural workers, who are regularly exposed to very large amounts of pesticides. In these individuals, pesticides have a wide range of health effects-from nervous system damage to an increased risk of some cancers.
Radon gas is produced by the decay of uranium, an element almost universally present in soil and rock. Radon moves slowly through the ground soil and can enter homes through openings or cracks in the foundations and construction joints. Over time, levels of radon gas in homes can build up.
Radon levels vary from location to location, depending primarily on the amount of uranium in the soil. Collin County, for example, is not considered to have particularly high levels of radon. Dallas and Denton Counties are almost double that of Collin County. Radon emits tiny radioactive particles which, when inhaled, can damage the lungs. Exposure to elevated levels of radon for an extended period is known to cause lung cancer. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for roughly 21,000 deaths per year in the United States.
Asbestos refers to a group of fibrous minerals that have been mined and used extensively over the last century. Asbestos use was prevalent in Texas during much of the 20th century to insulate equipment and clothing used by workers in major industries, such as oil refineries and shipyards. Texans’ exposure to this toxic, fire-resistant mineral resulted in thousands of asbestos-related deaths from mesothelioma and asbestosis Their tremendous strength and extreme resistance to heat and chemicals have made them ideal for use in a wide variety of commercial products such as building materials like roofing shingles and insulation, friction products like brake pads, and heat-resistant fabrics.
As they wear down, these products release asbestos fibers into the air. Fibers are also constantly being released into the air from natural sources. (In rural areas, every cubic meter of outdoor air contains approximately 10 asbestos fibers; in urban areas like Dallas, Plano and Richardson, the levels are estimated to be about 10 times higher.)
Indoor asbestos levels depend largely on the amount of asbestos-containing materials used in the building and the condition of those materials. Although materials that are in good repair will not typically release fibers, they may do so if they are disturbed or damaged.
When high levels of asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause severe scarring in the lungs and, in some cases, cancer. The likelihood of developing a problem is directly related to the concentration of fibers in the air and the duration of the exposure (the higher the concentration and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk). Although most experts don’t believe that prolonged exposure to small amounts of asbestos—and even large one-time exposures—are likely to cause significant health problems, minimizing exposure to asbestos is always prudent.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are gases emitted from many household solids or liquids. Included in these are a variety of chemicals, of which some may have short and/or long-term adverse health ramifications. It is common for concentrations of many VOCs to be consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs emitted by a wide array of products within our homes number in the thousands. Examples include:
- Paints, lacquers and strippers
- Cleaning supplies
- Pesticides and Fertilizers
- Dry-Cleaned Clothes and New Carpet
- Building materials and furnishings
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in the materials used to build, clean, maintain and/or update our Homes or Offices. Products like: New Carpet, paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, along with products used in crafts and hobbies. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
- To control Mold you need to controlmoisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home, promptly clean up the mold andfix the moisture issue.
- With moisture issue controlled dry water-damaged areas & itemswithin 48hrs to prevent mold growth
Molds grow naturally throughout our environment. Molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as fallen leaves, dead trees and dead animals. Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and/or indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet such as wood or sheetrock around a leaking shower or tub. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without the presence moisture.
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