FAQ

Question

Q

Are you getting sick to often in your home?

Answer(s)

A

Sickness this time of year may be aggravated or caused by some of these indoor air pollutants.

* Poor Air Quality - This is common in homes with inadequate ventilation and super-insulated homes without proper ventilation. Without adequate ventilation indoor air pollutants stay trapped inside the house. To reduce air pollutants, open windows, or purchase a mechanical ventilation system with an air-to-air heat exchanger. This device pulls stale warm air from the house and transfers the heat to the fresh air being sucked into the house from outside. An air filtration unit that captures some pollutants also can be used.
* Carbon Monoxide - This colorless, odorless gas is a combustion pollutant that comes from burning fuels such as natural or liquid propane, fuel oil, kerosene, wood or coal. Have your house tested by the fuel company, or, for extra protection, purchase a carbon monoxide monitor at hardware or retail stores.
* Radon Gas - Exposure does not produce any immediate health symptoms, but is a leading cause of lung cancer after long-term exposure. It is a by-product of the natural decay of uranium in the earth and can be drawn into the home through the crawl space, foundation cracks and other openings. Information and test kits are available through the Utah State Radon Office at 1-800-458-0145 or 801-536-4250.
* Mold Spores - These grow in areas with excess moisture such as bathrooms, crawl spaces, basements, kitchens, laundry areas, or where too many people or pets occupy a small space. If the relative humidity is more than 50 percent, mold spores will grow. To prevent spore growth, keep air ducts clean, use ventilating fans in kitchen and bathroom areas, vent clothes dryers outside or install a dehumidifier. Mold may also collect in ducts after summer and becomes airborne once the heating system starts working. When the heating system starts working it is common for people to get cold-like symptoms from the mold.
* Asbestos - This mineral fiber has been used as a fire retardant or to wrap water pipes. Asbestos is associated with lung cancer and asbestosis, a disease which scars the lungs. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, leave it alone and contact the Department of Health on how to test for asbestos and methods used to seal or remove asbestos.

Posted on 10 Jan 2000

Leona Hawks
Extension Housing Specialist

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