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Air Pollution In Your Home


Heating and cooling systems account for the largest percentage of energy used in homes.

Through sustainable home design and low allergen and low toxic materials, the need for air conditioning and air purification systems is reduced.

In addition to the toxins emitted from building materials and finishings, some mechanical heating and cooling systems still use refrigerants which are damaging to the ozone layer. Ensure that you always specify the use of refrigerants with an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of zero and a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of less than 10.

Air pollution can be attributed as a major cause of climate change, smog, acid rain and ozone depletion. Together, these are a serious threat to both the environment and our health.

In the UK, air pollution is responsible for around 32,000 deaths every year from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases. Thousands more requiring hospital treatment for allergies, headaches, ear and nose infections, and immune depressive disorders.


Air Pollutants

The main air pollutants are:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Benzene
  • Lead,
  • Volatile organic compounds [VOC]
  • Particulate matter

These pollutants are emitted from:

  • The burning of carbon-based materials such as wood and fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).
  • Industrial and chemical processes from manufacturing and construction, waste incineration, military operations, and agriculture.
  • Motorised vehicle emissions


Indoor Air Pollution

Air pollution does not remain outdoors. Poor ventilation can result in concentration [up to 60% more] of pollutants indoors. This poses a significant risk to human health.

in addition, conventional building materials and furnishings emit formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals which add to the toxic load. These include:

  • Household cleaning products
  • Paints
  • Solvents
  • Stoves and fireplaces - emit carbon monoxide and smoke particulates.
  • Biological pollutants - dust mites and moulds.


Managing Home Air Quality

Governments are committed to reducing air pollution, with 'Clean Air Acts' demanding companies to citizens to reduce toxic emmissions within their businesses and homes.

Reducing home air pollution can be achieved by:

  • Using low toxic building materials
  • Using low toxic cleaning products
  • Installing environmentally friendly heating systems
  • Providing good ventilation - especially in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Avoiding moisture build up to prevent moulds and dust mites
  • Installing air purification systems
  • Reducing inorganic waste
  • Reducing emmissions from vehicles through efficient tuning, modern car technology and using public or shared transport where possible

Reducing air pollution is a world-wide initiative. With countries like China making massive increases to pollution and showing little remorse for doing so, it is up to the rest of the world to set a better example and continue to apply pressure to non-ecofriendly nations to become more environmentally responsible.

Next: Moisture Control

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