This post is the second in a multi part series on indoor air quality and how air duct cleaning can help. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, I recommend you do before continuing.

Checklist of indoor pollutants pictured. Air duct cleaning

Common and scary contaminants found in our indoor air: (continued)

  • Furniture – older furniture poses an even greater threat. From the 1970s until 2006, furniture manufacturers used a class of chemicals called Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in order to make their products more fire resistant. Unfortunately, modern research has shown that PBDEs leech poisonous fumes into the air over time, which cause hormone disruption, cancer, and other problems in humans.
  • Air fresheners – ironically, a synthetic attempt to mask poor indoor air quality actually does more harm than good. Air fresheners contain phthalates, which cause hormone disruptions, developmental issues, and exacerbate asthma symptoms. Furthermore, phthalates can react with ground level ozone to produce formaldehyde and acetone in sufficient quantities to cause respiratory distress, even in people who don’t have asthma.
  • Candles – unfortunately, some candles are hardly any better than air fresheners. Candles that use paraffin wax emit benzene and toluene when burned, both of which are known to cause cancer. They also release alkanes and alkenes, which are hydrocarbons commonly found in car exhaust.
  • Inkjet printer ink – inkjet printers are the most common type people have in their homes. Their ink contains a class of chemicals known as glymes. While that may be a funny sounding name, glymes are actually among the most powerful industrial solvents on the planet. Their negative affects on humans are not yet fully understood, but it seems they have the ability to cause developmental and reproductive harm, as well as gene mutation. Scary stuff, indeed
    What can I do to better indoor air quality?

Check back soon for Indoor air quality and air duct cleaning: what you don’t know can hurt you, part 3. In the meantime, check out our page on air duct cleaning.