Jan 18 2012

Common Biological Pollutants in Your Home

We’ve all seen the newscasts on household pollutants and bacteria that are meant to scare the living daylights out of us. They use black lights to reveal hidden deadly bacteria living on our pillowcases and faucets and it’s enough to make our skin crawl. I promise I’m not trying to make your skin crawl. But I am going to tell you about some pretty common biological pollutants that could be present in your home right now.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines biological pollutants as contaminants that are living or are produced by living things. Areas that provide food, moisture, or water are a breeding ground for biological pollutants. Unfortunatly, many biological pollutants can make you and your family sick by triggering allergic reactions. Some of the most common reactions are sneezing, itchy watery eyes, dizziness, shortness of breath, and digestive problems. Many of these pollutants can become airborne in your home and can be circulated through your homes central air system causing your family to be constantly exposed.

Some of the most common biological pollutants according to the EPA:

  • · Dust Mites
  • · Pet Dander (skin flakes)
  • · Mold
  • · Viruses
  • · Bacteria
  • · Droppings and pieces of rodents and pests

Did that last one make you cringe? I would have left it out, but I learned something new in my research that I feel compelled to share. (Sorry in advance!) According to the EPA the protein in the urine of rats and mice is a very potent allergen. Once the urine dries those pollutants become airborne and can be distributed throughout your home. As if mice and rats weren’t disturbing enough already!

So now that I’ve freaked you out again, let me tell you what you can do to prevent the presence of these biological pollutants in your home. The good news is, it’s pretty simple.

Keep your home clean: Good housekeeping goes a long way in reducing the amount of pollen, pet dander, and dust mites in your home. As pesky as these common pollutants may be, your vacuum is their worst enemy.

Maintain proper ventilation:  Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom can eliminate much of the moisture that builds up in your home everyday. While exhaust fans are ideal and fairly simple to install, opening a window is a decent alternative.

Control the relative humidity in your home: The EPA recommends a relative humidity of 30-50 percent in homes. Controlling the humidity in your home can reduce growth of many of these pollutants.

Don’t forget about your basement and attic: This is important. Just because you may not be spending a lot of time in these areas doesn’t mean that they can’t be making you sick. Bacteria and pollutants can easily make their way from these areas into your breathing space. (Do I have to remind you of that airborne mice urine?) So be sure to maintain proper ventilation in these places too. As a general rule, even the smallest amount of water in your basement can be dangerous.

Crucial Vacuum cares about your health, which is why we are always looking for ways to keep you informed of the things that could be making you sick in your home. If there is one place you should be able to breathe easy, it should be at home.