Pollutants in Your Home

There are literally thousands of pollutants in our homes, arising from a combination of biological pollutants and manmade pollutants. New homeowners who are designing their homes can take steps to minimize these pollutants, although elimination is impossible.

There are primarily two types of pollutants in our homes. Biological pollutants consist of bacteria such as moulds and mildew, viruses, dander from animals, house dust and house mites, cockroaches and pollen. Manmade pollutants come from the chemicals that we introduce to our homes. These chemicals come from the materials that are used to construct new homes and decorate these homes as well as chemicals from cleaning supplies, fuel, and other chemicals that we may be storing in the garage or the basement. Even second hand smoke is a pollutant, especially for people who suffer from asthma and bronchitis.

In summary, designers of new homes must ensure that there is adequate flow of air in all rooms to avoid opportunities for higher moisture levels and opportunities for mildew and mould to grow. Homeowners who keep their homes clean and free of dust will also find that these types of pollutants are reduced. Installing electronic air filters on your furnace, keeping the windows closed during pollen season and running your air conditioner will also provide assistance. Some homeowners will also need to run dehumidifiers to reduce moisture problems. Living habits also make a significant difference for many homeowners. Every time you walk indoors after working outside, provides an opportunity for the introduction of additional pollutants into the home. Pollen in particular, on your clothes and person should be removed by washing and showering and avoid introducing these contaminants into your bedroom or other areas of the home.


Our homes are constructed of many manmade products, which use a huge number of chemicals during their manufacture. These same chemicals will often then enter the air in our homes over a period of time and causing health problems for people who may be susceptible to these pollutants. In addition, cleaning supplies, fuel and oil that may be stored in the garage as well as fertilizers and sprays can also enter the home through doors and windows and other fresh air intake systems.

Design of your home should take all of these potential pollutant sources into account. Adequate fresh air intake systems, sealed doors that prevent entry of pollutant from attached buildings, forced air systems in your home, proper storage of chemicals used in the home, and selection of materials that minimize the amount of chemicals that are introduced to the home are all part of the solution to decreasing the amount of indoor pollutants.

If you are particularly susceptible to indoor pollutants, your design choices may make a difference when you design your home. We have listed some of the factors you may want to consider:

  • Hardwood floors vs. carpets
  • Solid frame doors vi. Pressed wood doors
  • Latex paint vs. oil based paints
  • Air filtration systems
  • Continuous forced air systems
  • Clean fresh air intake
  • Storage of chemicals, oil and fuel away from your home
  • Chemical such as paint strippers, solvents, preservatives, aerosols, cleansers, disinfectants, moth repellants, air fresheners, hobby supplies and even dry cleaned clothing may effect some consumers
  • Proper sealing of doors and windows that are in close proximity to areas that store these potential pollutants
  • Humidity management within acceptable levels
  • Ensure dust is minimized
  • Avoid introducing dust, pollen and other contaminants into the home
  • Investigate low emission products for your home


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This page was updated on June 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.