What Are The Most Common Indoor Air Quality Pollutants In Ottawa


According to the World Health Organization, outdoor air pollution causes over 4 million deaths annually. Thank goodness you spend most of your time indoors, right? Unfortunately, your home is not as safe as you might think. Research has shown that indoor air pollution is up to five times and, in some cases, even 100% more dangerous than outdoor pollution.

What increases the risk of indoor air pollution?

Homes with poor ventilation and close to pollution sources are more likely to have poor indoor air quality. As living in Ottawa homes, experiences winter, the risk of indoor air pollution is highest during that time. During the winter, all the windows and doors in your home remain shut, so there is no free flow of air.

Hot climate areas and places with high humidity also experience some of the worst indoor air quality. Air pollutants are retained longer in the air, increasing their concentration significantly.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to several health issues, which in most cases are undetected in the early stages. When you are exposed to poor indoor air quality for a long time, it can lead to:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Allergies
  • Irritation in the eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Various cancers, tumours, and chronic respiratory diseases

Today, Ottawa people spend almost 100% of their time indoors due to lockdowns, curfews, and working from home. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that our homes’ indoor air quality is free of toxins and other particulate matter.

Indoor air pollutants are not visible to the naked eye, unlike outdoor air pollution, where you can easily spot a smoke cloud. Sometimes you might need air quality testing services in Ottawa from a professional mold removal company to know what you’re dealing with. Before you call the professionals, check if your home is a culprit to these common indoor air pollutants as advised by the company.

  1. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are gases emitted from paint, wood preservatives, building materials, carpets, and other chemical solids and liquids around the home. VOCs are dangerous because they emit gases slowly into the air meaning air quality becomes worse every day if there isn’t enough ventilation.

Long-term exposure to VOCs can have side-effects such as dizziness, nausea, skin reactions, liver, kidney, and central nervous damage.

  1. Mold

According to Mold Busters Ottawa, there are four main types of mold found in indoor environments. These are; Alternaria, Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium. Mould grows in damp and high humidity areas. Mould can spread rather quickly once it starts to grow and the spores and mycelia fragments are dispersed in the air.

When these fragments are inhaled, they can cause several respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions. On surfaces, mold will grow on window corners, walls, ceilings, and even closes spaces where it’s damp. It is probably a sign of mold whenever you see green or black stains or peelings on damp surfaces.

Mould and other microbial growth can be quite persistent and might return after being removed. However, when you get mould removed by professionals, the job will be done right, and chances of returning will be minimal.

  1. Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless toxic gas emitted by gasoline-powered equipment in the home. Inhaling carbon monoxide can lead to death even before you know you are exposed. Other side effects include vision impairment, confusion, nausea, and dizziness. The best way to prevent carbon monoxide exposure is to regularly check your cooking appliances or combustion equipment such as boilers, kerosene heaters, gas ranges, and unvented gas. 

  1. Particulate matter

Particulate matter is a mixture of suspended solid and liquid particles in the air created by cooking and other combustion activities. Particulate matter can sometimes have inhalable particles, which can affect your lungs and heart when they get into your bloodstream. If you or your family member has any pre-existing conditions like asthma or heart disease, there is a higher risk of worsening your condition.

Most people don’t mind much about indoor air pollution because it’s impossible to see it. You are more aware of something that you can see than something that you don’t. Don’t wait to get sick to check on your indoor air quality.

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