Indoor Air Quality Is Deteriorating

Article excerpt

Many well-insulated homes have higher air pollution levels than the most polluted cities, according to studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

As a result, respiratory illnesses such as asthma are on the rise, and reports of chemical sensitivity among people living in tightly sealed homes are increasing.

The keys to achieving a healthy indoor environment are reducing sources of pollution and ventilating to clear out noxious emissions, says Elliot Schrank, home environment specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Schrank, who is working with the Consumer Federation of America in helping New York State residents improve indoor air quality, has the following suggestions for reducing pollution levels:

* Have furnaces, flues, and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually to prevent carbon monoxide emissions.

* Buy only woodstoves that are certified as meeting Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. Doors on the stoves should fit tightly.

* Install exhaust fans over kitchen stoves.

* Check radon levels, particularly if the home is located in a geographic area where radon is, common.

* Store infrequently used products containing volatile organic compounds, including solvents, adhesives, oil-based paints, paint thinners, aerosol sprays, and moth repellents, in a detached structure such as a storage shed. …