Forty Canadian citizens die from the effects of toxic air each day.
This astounding statistic adds up to just under 15,000 Canadian deaths annually from exposure to the one thing none of us can live without—air.
While a great many of the toxins that kill people each year are first introduced into our outside air, it is when they find their way into our indoor air that things get truly dangerous. On average, the indoor air we breathe is up to 5 times more toxic than the air just outside our windows and doors.
What is worse, we’ve known about this for nearly four decades (check out this New York Times article, published in 1981)!
What to do? In this post, learn the three most critical steps to take to ensure you are breathing safer, cleaner indoor air.
How to Know Your Indoor Air Has Reached Toxic Levels
The warning signs can be different for each person. The signs may also be more extreme for very young or elderly people.
Here, what is important is not that you are experiencing every sign on the list, but that at least one sign is bothersome enough to be impacting your health and enjoyment of daily life.
Also keep in mind while reading this list that most people—young, adults, elderly—spend an estimated 90 percent of their daily lives indoors, breathing indoor air. So it is not surprising that the effects of indoor air toxins can become so damaging so quickly.
It is also important not to downplay so-called minor or nagging signs and symptoms like those on the following list. These are precisely the minor issues that can in time develop into major, even permanent or fatal, health conditions.
Here is a list of some of the most common warning signs that your indoor air has become toxic:
- You feel like you are always fighting off a minor cold.
- Your throat often feels just a little bit sore.
- Your eyes itch, burn, water, or feel dry when you go inside.
- You often have respiratory or allergy-type symptoms when you go to bed.
- Your skin develops a rash that won’t ever quite go away.
- You are coughing frequently.
- You have asthma and the number and/or severity of attacks is increasing.
- You struggle with chronic fatigue, lethargy, or difficulty concentrating.
- You have vague breathing problems such as shortness of breath or constant yawning.
- Your sinuses are inflamed and you often struggle with headaches.
Common Toxins Causing Air Toxicity Symptoms
In most cases, the toxins that cause the list of symptoms above and variations thereof read like a revolving door of repeat offenders.
Here are the most common sources of toxins affecting indoor air quality today:
- Tobacco—smoking and secondhand smoke
- Commercial cleaners and air fresheners
- Chemicals: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, radon, asbestos, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, paint and glue fumes, etc.
- Pollen, dust, dirt, dust mites
- Smog and acid rain
- Pesticides, insecticides, fungicides
3 Steps to Cleaning Up Your Indoor Air
Some of these steps will be particularly applicable if you believe your workplace air has become toxic.
Since you have less total control over air quality issues at work (unless you are the boss or company owner), certain steps will be particularly key to convincing your company to take indoor air quality seriously.
But whether you are addressing the issue at home or in the workplace, these 3 steps must accompany any lasting indoor air quality changes:
Step 1: Education
The goal of education is simple: to wake people up to the dangers of toxic indoor air.
Education about indoor air toxicity must include the following:
- Knowledge of the fundamental causes of toxic indoor air
- Knowledge of the warning signs and health symptoms caused by toxic indoor air
- Knowledge of general action steps to take to improve indoor air quality
Step 2: Commitment
The goal of the commitment stage is all about information gathering. In other words, you need to know what specific problems you are dealing with before you can fix them.
Identifying the specific issues causing indoor air toxicity requires the following:
- An indoor air quality test. This test provides detailed information about the toxins present in your indoor air supply.
- Installation of a carbon monoxide detector/alarm. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and lethal, only a detector will be able to warn you of toxic levels.
- Monitoring of indoor air humidity levels. Levels should remain between 30 and 50 percent at all times to keep the growth of mould and mildew at bay.
Step 3: Action
Once you know the major toxins you are dealing with, it is time to take corrective action.
- Schedule a professional air duct cleaning. By cleaning out all the built-up debris and toxins that have accumulated in your air duct system over the years, you can remove as many toxins as possible in just one day.
- Have your mattresses professionally cleaned. Removing dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and residual chemical toxins will pay off with more restful, deep sleep and fewer respiratory issues.
- Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned. Dryer vent cleaning isn’t just picking lint out of the dryer bucket. It vacuums out hidden lint deep in the dryer’s system, ensuring toxins don’t end up right back in your linens, bedding, mattresses, and air supply.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
Clean Air Solutions has nearly a century of professional expertise in indoor air detoxification and cleaning. Contact us for a free consultation at 905-544-2470 or online.