When you live, work, and play in a toxic environment, your body systems become stressed. Body stress is most often felt through illness, fatigue, headaches, chronic allergies, and “mysterious” aches and pains.
Over time, these physical discomforts can build up to emotional and mental stress as well. When you feel like you are slogging through your days rather than living life to your full potential, this can impact your mood and quality of life.
Stress Endangers Your Life
Dr. Hans Selye, lifelong stress researcher and inductee into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, calls this now well-documented connection between body stress and mind/emotional stress “general adaptation syndrome” (GAS). His GAS research highlighted how anything that causes stress can endanger life and how, in the same way, anything that endangers life can cause stress.
This groundbreaking study earned Dr. Selye the nickname “The Father of Stress Research” and paved the way for legitimizing initiatives to clean up the air we breathe, both outdoors and (increasingly more important) indoors.
Toxic Indoor Air Causes Stress
Canada’s Healthy Canadians website encourages you to test your indoor air for contaminants both at home and at work. The following two contaminants are particularly concerning, since they are colorless and odorless, and should be tested for during an indoor air quality test.
This radioactive gas is known to cause lung cancer. Radon levels rise as uranium breaks down beneath the soil surface. According to Healthy Canadians, most homes in Canada will test positive at some level for the presence of radon.
But in confined spaces, radon levels can rise to potentially toxic levels. Lack of adequate in-home ventilation is a major cause of radon build-up inside a home.
While radon may not be a familiar term for many, it seems everyone knows about “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide. Like radon, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. Like radon, carbon monoxide can quickly build to toxic levels. Carbon monoxide is produced as a by-product of fuel use and is also contained in secondhand tobacco smoke.
But unlike radon, high levels of carbon monoxide will kill you long before you have time to develop lung cancer. For this reason, you should not only have your home tested for carbon monoxide levels, but you should also install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and regularly test that detector to be sure it is working properly.
You can have this work done at the same time as you schedule your indoor air quality test so you can test for both killers and ensure you now have a method of detection if levels should climb in the future.
More Toxic Indoor Air = More Stress
In addition to radon and carbon monoxide, your indoor air supply at home and work can quickly become overpopulated with a variety of additional toxic stressors.
The most common toxins found during routine indoor air quality testing include these:
- Mould spores
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Tobacco smoke
In addition, in many homes and especially at workplaces, many commercial so-called cleaners and air fresheners are actually potent toxins of their own.
Next time you visit the cleaning products section of your local market, pick up a can of air freshener or cleaning spray and take a look at the ingredients list. If you can’t pronounce the names, chances are good you have found one of the reasons why your indoor air is polluted!
Industrial toxins are also increasingly building up in our indoor air supply. This is due in part to the high incidence of construction and home improvement projects, as many materials required for these types of projects contain potent chemicals, including some you may assume are no longer a danger!
See if you recognize any of the toxins on this list:
Health Canada states that ozone is “good up high” and “bad nearby.” In other words, ozone is needed in our atmosphere to protect our planet, but when produced at ground level, it is a key ingredient in smog, which is a known toxin.
Asbestos was once a common mineral found in construction and home improvement supplies, including cement, plaster, tiles, siding and insulation. Asbestos is often exposed during renovation or demolition, which reintroduces it into your indoor air supply.
Lead was once a common paint additive. If you live or work in a structure painted prior to 1960, you may still be exposed to lead on a daily basis. Reducing the dust in your home or workplace is one of the best ways to keep lead from building up in your body.
Many home renovation and commercial construction products contain formaldehyde, which is far more prevalent than you might expect in today’s indoor air. Tobacco smoke contains this chemical in large doses.
Home appliances such as heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, and gas-burning appliances emit nitrogen dioxide. It is also found in large quantities in tobacco smoke.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
One of the principal culprits for releasing VOCs are cleaning products. Fuel oil, gasoline, paint, varnishes, caulks, sealers, and other supplies also release VOCs. Even in small quantities over time, VOCs can cause cancer as well as damage to the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
Help! Get the Toxins Out of My Indoor Air!
After just reading this list, you are probably feeling more stressed. So imagine how your body is feeling after breathing in these toxins day after day.
Clean Air Solutions Hamilton can help. Every week we are hard at work conducting indoor air quality testing, air duct cleaning, air filtration, and ventilation solutions for clients in the Hamilton and surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation at 905-544-2470 or online.