Act now and give your home a health check

 In Air Pollution, Indoor air quality

Many householders believe that shutting the front door is enough to keep out traffic fumes and ensure the air inside our homes is fresh and pure.

But there are many indoor problems, particularly at this time of year that can also have an impact on our health, said green energy expert Ron Fox.

Now is a good time to give your residence a health check, especially with many visitors over Christmas and the New Year.

Research by the National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS) has shown that on average there would be 3,000 to 5,000 ultra-fine pollution particles per cubic centimetre in a standard clean room. They believe that up to 10,000 is acceptable.

But much higher readings have been found of more than 100,000 and up to a million in heavily-polluted areas. These higher figures are believed to be a cause of medical problems such as cardiovascular disease.

Ron said the main problems of pollutants inside the home are older wood burning stoves, open fires, frying foods and having scented candles which all give off PM2.5, atmospheric particulate matter (PM). They are about 3 per cent the diameter of a human hair and can be detected only with an electron microscope.

As they are all so small and light these fine particles tend to stay longer in the air than heavier particles, increasing the chances of humans and animals inhaling them into their bodies. Because they are so small they can bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and possibly enter the circulatory system.

Outside the home these pollutants are found in planes, car exhausts, chimney smoke, forest fires, volcanic eruptions and dust storms.

Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park, said other problems of poor air quality in the home are low quality insulation, which traps stale and unhealthy air; cigarette smoke, damp, mould and combustion gases from inadequately vented fireplaces and gas stoves.

He said another area not known about by many householders are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals found in everyday products, such as aerosols, including deodorants and air fresheners.

These can cause burning and irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, and nausea.

Also some cosmetics and cleaning products contain formaldehyde which can  sometimes cause asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung disease.

He said scientific research is showing that air pollution is a serious health risk. The World Health Organisation reckons it causes an estimated seven million premature deaths a year worldwide, double the number caused by obesity.

“For anyone concerned about pollution,” added Ron, “I suggest they contact a reliable firm who will use specialist measuring equipment to test the air quality and if necessary install filters to improve ventilation and to combat allergens.

“The benefits,” added Ron, “are improved health, increased comfort in the home and particularly peace of mind for people with young children or elderly relatives.”

For more advice on green energy matters and giving your home a health check contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk

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