The data in the chart below come from the Air Quality Sciences Research Center. It is a list of the top 10 air pollutants found inside of homes through out the United States. The list includes chemicals that are off gassed from many of the most common products used to construct furniture as well as chemicals that come from items used to run a home such as refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioners, heaters, etc. These chemicals include Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which are emmited or evaporate from these products. Formaldehyde is a VOC.
According to the website:
“Results of studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other researchers have found that VOCs are common in the indoor environment and that their levels may be ten to thousands times higher indoors than outdoors. In addition, there may be anywhere from 50 up to hundreds of individual VOCs in any one indoor air sample.
At very low levels, some VOCs may produce odors that some people may consider to be objectionable, while others are irritants that can cause people to have headaches and eye, nose and throat irritation, and dizziness. At high concentrations, some VOCs are toxic or may be carcinogenic.”
San Franciscan’s should be aware of the chemicals that may be present in their homes, particularly if you live in an old home or have small children, elders or people with pre-existing health conditions living in the premesis.
For a follow up story, I would like to look at the presence of indoor air pollutants in comparison to household income.