It is one of the best feelings in the entire world to take a deep, full breath of fresh, clean air. It is invigorating. It makes you feel healthy and vibrant. Alive. Awake. Oxygen, we can’t live without it. Unfortunately, when you breathe in a big ol’ gulp of air, you taking much more than just oxygen into your body. Depending on where you are, depending on the air quality, you could be breathing in any number of things. Today, we are going to consider the topic of air quality.
What is air?
Asking that question of most people you would get a simple answer back, “air is air, duh!” It is actually much more complicated than that. When you breathe air, you are breathing a complex assortment of gasses. The Earth’s atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, 0.9 percent argon, and 0.03 percent carbon dioxide. Depending on where you are standing at any given time, it may also include any number of pollutants and contaminants as well.
There are a lot of them and unfortunately for us, they are everywhere. For our concerns, we are going to look at contaminants and pollutants that are commonly found in the home. Right now, the pollutants, particulates, and contaminants floating about in your home could include radon, mold, mildew, dust, dander, pollen, or even carbon monoxide. In terms of health risk, these contaminants range everywhere from “mild annoyance: will cause sniffles” to “could kill you: get out of the house, like now.” Carbon monoxide is by far the most dangerous of these air contaminants. It is colorless, and odorless. Prolonged exposure can cause death. The only way to know if there is carbon monoxide in the air is with a carbon monoxide detector. Make sure you have one installed in your home.