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Is Your Indoor Air Quality Making You Sick?

Here is one thing you may not have considered: is the air quality inside your home safe or even worse, could it be making your family sick?  According to the Pittsburgh Green House, your home could be harboring many products that “off-gas” harmful pollutants that you inhale.

Off-gassing refers to the evaporation of synthetic compounds which are harmful to health.  Even more alarming is the fact that on average we spend 80-90% of our lives indoors.  The EPA estimates that indoor levels of air pollution can be anywhere from 5 to 100 times worse than outdoor levels.

The Pittsburgh Green House, a 110-year old home that has been renovated and serves as educational facility for residential energy, water savings, and healthy living has begun its workshop series labeled “Healthy Homes Series.”  The first workshop focused on indoor air quality.  It addressed the origins of poor indoor air quality, the problems that causes, and the solutions to fix it.


Pressed wood furniture, radon gas, mold, carpeting, household cleaning products, pesticides, carbon monoxide, dust, and new furniture are the most common sources of indoor air pollution.

Health Risks

Rashes, asthma, cardiovascular illness, allergies, ear infections, burning eyes, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itching, and even cancer.


Strategies to remove sources can be easy and inexpensive.  Improved ventilation can help abate mold growth, along with sealing leaking windows, pipes, or other sources of moisture.  Installing affordable carbon monoxide (CO) and radon detectors can drastically lower your high exposure risk.  Relocating pressed wood furniture away from direct sunlight can reduce formaldehyde off-gassing, and letting new furniture and building materials air out for a few days before bringing them inside your home will help protect you from the strongest levels of off-gassing of all kinds.  Cleaning your homes with less toxic products will reduce chemical fumes.  Finally, greening up your home with indoor plants such as Philodendrons can naturally purify your home by filtering a variety of pollutants.

If you are unsure about air quality your home, check out the great resources that Pittsburgh Green House has to offer by clicking here.

Guest post by GASP Intern and GSPIA student Matt Ferrer

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