Most of us are familiar with outdoor smog. Poor outdoor air quality can involve many different pollutants, including particulate matter and gases. These can come from industrial and vehicle emissions, road dust, agriculture and burning.
For more information on the quality of the outdoor air in your community, refer to the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at www.airhealth.ca.
Just like outdoor air, it is possible for indoor air quality to be poor. Health Canada recommends that individuals, particularly children, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma and heart disease, protect their indoor air as much as possible.
By following these steps, you can make sure everyone in your home has good indoor air quality:
• Do not smoke indoors.
• When possible, limit the use of any combustion source, such as incense, candles and wood stoves. Consider choosing a low-emission wood stove.
• Make sure you use cleaning products according to the label. Some products may emit high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
• Install and maintain at least one carbon monoxide alarm in the home located near bedrooms, and preferably one on each floor.
• Maintain humidity levels between 30 and 50 per cent to maintain a comfortable environment and avoid mould growth.
• Avoid using air purifiers or other equipment that generate ozone, as exposure to ozone can be harmful to your health.
• Use a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that traps small particles. Settled dust can be removed by wiping and wet mopping
• Portable HEPA filtration units may also reduce indoor particulate levels. Filters may have to be changed or replaced more often, depending on use and conditions. (NC)
Find more detailed information about how to improve indoor air quality at canada.ca and searching keywords “protecting” and “indoor air.”