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Dangers of Poor Indoor Air Quality

5 Danger levels inforgraphic

5 IAQ Danger Levels

Enlarge this graphic to learn about different danger levels and the solutions that protect against IAQ risk factors.

The risk of indoor air pollutants

Among the five levels of indoor air pollution, Level 5: dangerous gasses, is the most serious. But no indoor air quality (IAQ) danger level should be overlooked. Whether your home or building has mold, radon, or volatile organic compounds, these issues can all impact the health of those inside.

Read about each danger level and check out the accompanying videos to learn more. If you are concerned about your property's indoor air quality, contact your local National Radon Defense specialist today!

Danger Level #5: Dangerous gases

Carbon monoxide (CO) and radon are hazardous gases made even more dangerous because they're invisible and odorless. Carbon monoxide is produced by combustion appliances (furnaces, boilers, water heaters, wood stoves) that burn fossil fuels or firewood. Ventilation problems and appliance performance issues are the main causes of hazardous indoor levels of CO.

Radon is a radioactive gas that emanates naturally from soil and rock. One in 15 houses has high levels of radon, which typically enters the living space via the basement or crawl space. Radon exposure can cause lung cancer and is responsible for 15,000 - 21,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

Testing your house for hazardous levels of radon or CO is the first step in protecting building inhabitants from these lethal pollutants. Contact your National Radon Defense dealer to arrange for an inexpensive test. If hazardous levels of radon or CO are detected, corrective measures can be taken to minimize exposure levels. Learn more about radon and how it can affect your home.

Danger Level #4: Mold & mildew

Mold & mildew belong to the vast family of fungi that thrive in damp environments. Mold can be visible as a blotchy stain on organic materials like paper, fabric, leather, and wood. It can also "hide" in wall cavities and elsewhere.

A living mold colony produces microscopic spores that disperse through the air. The musty mold smell means that you are inhaling these tiny organisms. Reactions to mold depend on the type of mold and an individual's sensitivity. Some people experience nose and throat irritation, while others have more severe reactions, including asthma and lung infections.

Danger Level #3: Allergens & particulates

This IAQ danger level includes smoke from wood or tobacco, dust, pollen, pet dander, and insect debris. If your house has a forced-air system, these irritants can be distributed in household air when your heating or air-conditioning system is operating. Fortunately, the use of high-quality filters in a forced-air system can also trap many allergens and particulates. Without mitigation, these elements often cause respiratory ailments, eye irritation, and sinus problems.

Danger Level #2: Infectious illnesses

Family members, friends, and pets can bring bacteria and viruses into a home. Some of these health hazards are spread by contact, but others become indoor air pollutants. The contaminants include influenza, common cold viruses, streptococcus, pneumococcus, and tuberculosis. Encouraging people to practice good hygiene can help to prevent illnesses from spreading, but air filtration, ventilation, and humidity control can also improve safety in this area.

Danger Level #1: Toxic compounds

Leaky older houses were unlikely to accumulate hazardous concentrations of airborne toxic compounds. But as houses become more airtight to improve energy efficiency, this danger category is getting more attention. Toxic compounds such as formaldehyde, methylene chloride, acetone, benzene, and toluene, are often brought into the house in building materials, furniture, and furnishings (carpets, curtains, etc.). Toxic compounds can also be found in some cleaning products. The best defense against this indoor air pollution is to avoid buying or using products that contain these ingredients. Negative physical reactions to toxic compounds include dizziness, blurred vision, and headaches. Long-term exposure can cause cancer and liver damage.

Contact your local indoor air quality specialist today!

Ready to improve air quality and safety in your home? Contact your local National Radon Defense dealer and find out more about our testing and mitigation services!

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