Is your house making you sick?
Are you or your family suffering from sick house syndrome? Mildew, mold, dust mites, bacteria, second hand smoke, and pet dander are just a few of the pollutants which are frequently found in homes and why we recommend electrostatic air filters.
There are many much more serious toxins lurking in some homes. The air that you are breathing inside your home may also contain formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, asbestos, lead dust, sulfur dioxide, radon gas, as well as other numerous pollutants. These toxic substances could be making you and your family ill.
Polluted indoor air causes sick house syndrome.
In 1984 the World Health Organization officially announced that the polluted indoor air within homes and workplaces was indeed causing the occupants of those buildings to become ill. This illness was officially termed “Sick Building Syndrome”, also referred to as “Sick House Syndrome”, and now classified as a very real illness.
It was estimated that up to thirty percent of all newly renovated, or newly built homes and offices, were sick buildings that could cause illness in the people who breathed the polluted air within them.
What is sick house syndrome?
Sick house syndrome occurs when the air inside a house reaches pollution levels sufficient enough to cause illness or disease to it’s occupants. That sniffling nose or upset stomach that you think is an allergy may actually be something considerably more serious. It could be that you are suffering from sick house syndrome.
Sick House Syndrome Symptoms…
Sick house syndrome symptoms may include one or any number of these health warning signs:
Headache, dizziness, stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, confusion or difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering things, sneezing, coughing, chest or sinus congestion, sore throat, difficulty breathing, sore or irritated eyes, muscle or joint stiffness and pain, fatigue, earaches, skin rash or itch, an inability to tolerate heat or cold, irritability or uncomfortableness, chest pain, or unusual heart palpitations.
Causes of indoor air pollution…
Such common household products as household cleaners, varnish, paint, glue, and computer inks contribute to poor indoor air quality. Household furnishings such as carpets, as well as the very construction materials that your home is made from, all release invisible and often times toxic gases into the air that you breathe.
Even storing these common everyday items within the home can add to the indoor pollution levels within your house and increase the likelihood that your family may suffer from sick house syndrome. And the sad part is, it has nothing to do with how clean you are. You can vacuum everyday, get upholstery cleaning weekly, wipe everything down with vinegar and it won’t make a bit of difference.
You and your family may be breathing in formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, asbestos, lead dust, radon gas, mildew, mold, dust mites, bacteria, second hand smoke, pet dander, as well as other pollutants. You may not be able to see or smell these contaminants, yet they could be in your home, and making you sick.
If these contaminants do not have sufficient fresh air to dilute them to a relatively harmless state, then they combine with the multitude of other indoor pollutants, and pollute the indoor air of your home. If your house does not have access to sufficient fresh air exchange then the indoor air within your home becomes increasingly more polluted. From there it is only a matter of time before you and your family begin to suffer the effects of sick house syndrome.
So what’s the solution? Do you go out and get an eco dumpster and start throwing everything out? And why is this such a big problem anyway?
The 1973 Oil Embargo and Sick House Syndrome…
One might wonder what the 1973 oil embargo could possible have to do with sick house syndrome but the resulting energy crisis actually set a chain of events into motion which was to drastically increase the amount of people suffering from this syndrome. With world wide oil shortages looming in the near future, the 1973 oil embargo helped push the price of oil higher. and government agencies into a new line of conservation practices. One of these was a new set of building standards code which was put in place to insure that buildings would be as energy efficient as they could be.
In the early 1900’s and throughout the mid 1900’s building standards code required 15 cubic feet of fresh air per minute per person for appropriate ventilation within buildings. New energy conservation measures were implemented in the 1970’s that reduced the amount of fresh air ventilation within buildings. The current 15 cubic feet per minute per person was reduced to a mere 5 cubic feet of air per minute per person. Newly constructed and renovated homes, offices, and schools, were to follow the new standards set out to insure that these buildings would be much more airtight.
It was believed that these new building standard codes would insure that buildings required less heating, and cooling costs, and so would therefore be more energy efficient. What no one could foresee then was that these new building code standards rather than being of benefit during the oil crisis, would instead served to trap bacteria and other pollutants within these buildings. The trapped contaminants then had the opportunity to multiply and rise to dangerous levels. It was this contaminated indoor air which then caused the people within these buildings to become ill.
The people who lived and worked within these newly renovated or newly built buildings began to complain of a number of health ailments. The air within these buildings was causing them to suffer from a strange new illness. For most of the individuals who were initially exposed to sick building syndrome, their symptoms would disappear once they left the affected building, but for many their symptoms would last for a lengthy time after their initial exposure. Sick house syndrome, also known as sick building syndrome, had officially arrived.
Medicinenet.com – Is your house making you sick?
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Environmental Protection Agency: Sick Building Syndrome
US National Library of Medicine
Definition of sick house syndrome and symptoms
How to improve, or stop, the indoor air pollution in your home…
- Change your furnace filter regularly.
- Use dust mite covers on your pillows and mattresses.
- Install a carbon monoxide monitor.
- Test your home for Radon gas.
- Instill a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
- Use green household cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon, or a green tea solution.
- Keep a window in your home open at least one inch summer, winter, spring, and fall.
- Check for mold or mildew from within your home, use a mold remover or mildew remover.
- Update your furnace, air conditioner, ventilation system and other household appliances.
- Store paint, glues, varnishes, garden materials, and other household cleaning or construction materials in the garage or a storage shed rather than within your living space.
Sick home syndrome is also referred to as sick building syndrome…