Sunday 14 February 2021

Importance Of Air Quality

Air Quality plays an important role in your health. Find out why

By Colin Ruggiero

Home Air Quality Hazards

Hazardous airborne substances are both destructive to one's health and home. There are several circumstances to be wary of in order to prevent these substances from developing and compromising indoor air quality (IAQ). Mold and asbestos are two very common air quality hazards that are found in many homes. As a homeowner, it is imperative that you take the proper precautions when managing indoor air quality to ensure a safe and healthy lifestyle. The following article acts as a guide on what two common airborne toxins, their effects on health, and what to do if they are discovered in your home. 


The Dangers of Mold

Mold is an extremely common household toxin that can lead to hazardous air quality levels while having the ability to break down or weaken materials. The reason mold is so common is because it has the potential to grow anywhere there is excess moisture and inadequate ventilation. These conditions can be caused by high humidity levels, flooding, plumbing issues, exterior leaks and HVAC malfunctions.

Outside of general household maintenance, mold will also grow in places of filth, or areas in the home not tended to properly. This is why basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and other frequently used rooms are all common places where mold spores will develop. Growing in various untreated materials and fabrics around the household, mold can quickly become a problem. Life can get messy, but cleanliness is important in order to maintain a healthy living environment.

While ground floor apartments and rural homes are at higher risk of mold, it is safe to say that regardless of where a resident lives, they should be wary of its signs. It is known to give off a musty odor and cause respiratory issues, flu-like symptoms, headaches and even memory loss. It generally consists of a greenish-blue color, and is said to be more harmful the darker the spore is. Given that “black mold” (Stachybotrys) is considered the most dangerous type of mold found in homes, this statement stands true. Hire a professional to properly mitigate dangerous molds like this and inspect the home for the safest living environment possible. 

The Dangers Of Asbestos

Asbestos was a popular additive used in construction materials mainly for reinforcing plastics, fireproofing and heat resistance. When asbestos is discovered in materials like adhesive, drywall, floor tiles, pipe wrap, popcorn ceilings, and electrical insulation, they are referred to as asbestos-containing materials or ACMs. 

When broken down ACM’s release toxic debris into the environment creating a health risk. Researchers found that exposure to the substance when airborne can cause serious health problems years after exposure. While asbestos is more commonly found in older homes and buildings, it is crucial for any homeowner to be aware of the materials being used when building, repairing or renovating any area of the home. It wasn't until the late 1980’s that asbestos use in the United States became partially banned, so it's possible that it still lurks within your home. If you suspect ACMs are present within your home, it is best to contact a professional to inspect and test the materials and areas in question. 

Exposure to asbestos is a situation that should not be taken lightly. These fibers can stay dormant for decades, putting a person at risk for a number of severe diseases. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer directly correlated to asbestos fibers attaching to the lungs abdomen or heart. Because mesothelioma symptoms are often not present at the onset of this disease, it can be difficult to make an early diagnosis.

In addition to mold and asbestos, there are several other indoor air quality hazards that could be present in a home. Before tackling any home projects, big or small, make sure you are aware of the hazards around you. Knowing how to identify and prevent exposure is the first line of defense against such threats.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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