Indoor pollution: how to improve the air quality at home?

Sometimes, pollution is more important in the house than outside! What are the main sources of indoor pollution? What risks does it expose us to? What are the right things to do to improve the air quality at home?

Improving indoor air quality is a health priority

Knowing that we spend more than 80% of our time in closed places (home, work, school, transportation, etc.), the quality of the indoor air we breathe is a major factor that determines our health. Exposure to indoor pollution can lead to a variety of symptoms and conditions: respiratory irritation, headaches, poisoning, etc.

What are the main sources of indoor air pollution?

Tobacco is the first indoor pollutant … and one on which it is easiest to act! Then we find cleaning products (household products, home perfumes, incense), DIY products (paints, glues, solvents, gardening products), building materials (glass wool, rock wool), products used for the manufacture of furniture (formaldehyde for example), radon, etc.

The right things to do at home to fight against indoor pollution

Air regularly your home Our homes are becoming increasingly isolated, which translates into less energy expenditure. But this isolation hinders the  renewal of our inner air. It is therefore necessary to ventilate all the rooms every day by opening the windows for at least 10 minutes. Even if it is cold, and even during a period of peak outdoor pollution, it is essential to ventilate in order to renew and mix the air, dilute and evacuate indoor pollutants.Be careful, some activities require even more ventilation: cleaning, do-it-yourself, decoration work, renovation, etc.Equip your home with a suitable ventilation system Ventilation systems (VMC, controlled mechanical ventilation) installed in the housing provide air circulation, general and permanent. Their installation and the verification of their operation must be carried out by a specialist.Make sure air inlets, grills and exhaust vents are not obstructed and clean as often as necessary to keep them efficient.

What measures to adopt for each pollutant?

Reduce indoor pollution by tobacco Do not smoke indoors or even at the window. Also, have your guests smoke outside. With 3,000 toxic substances, tobacco is the number one pollutant in housing, causing cancer through active and passive smoking, asthma, allergies, cardiovascular disease, etc. Every year, some 5,000 people die from second-hand smoke.

Reduce indoor pollution with household products and home fragrancesVentilate when using household products, avoid spray products, do not mix the products with each other (especially with bleach), follow the directions for use, doses and safety instructions, limit the number of products you use, prefer products certified as protecting the environment.Avoid scented candles, incense and indoor perfumes, great purveyors of indoor pollution. Also beware of stain removers or to remove nail polish.Reduce indoor pollution by DIY products and building materials Many building materials and DIY products (paints, glues, solvents, varnishes, vitrifiers, waxes, paint removers, thinners, lacquers, etc.) emit toxic substances such as fibers or volatile organic compounds or VOCs (formaldehyde, organic solvents glycol ethers, hydrocarbons).

When you tinker:

always wear the appropriate protections (filter mask, gloves, glasses),close the products well after use,keep them in an airy place out of the reach of children.If the work is indoors, take regular breaks outdoors and ventilate. Choose products that contain the least amount of pollutants as soon as possible: read the VOC labels, choose European eco-labels and consult the pictograms.Be careful, some new furniture (in particular chipboard) release some chemical substances for a certain time. Ideally, leave them for a few days in a very ventilated place before installing them in your bedroom or living room.

Reduce indoor pollution with radon

Radon is a radioactive natural gas emitted by the soil that causes lung cancer (2nd cause after tobacco). The presence of radon depends on the nature of the soil and the degree of containment. If you live in a region with a high concentration of radon (Auvergne, Limousin, Franche Comté, Corsica, Brittany), work to increase the ventilation of your home may be necessary.