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Jen Janocha, PA-C
By Jen Janocha, PA-C on May 09, 2024

Clearing the Air: Unveiling the Hidden Dangers of Indoor Air Pollution

Most new parents diligently child-proof their homes, installing cabinet locks, baby gates, and socket covers to safeguard their little ones. Yet, there’s an invisible hazard often overlooked—indoor air pollution

Indoor air pollution encompasses a broad spectrum of contaminants, ranging from ordinary household allergens (i.e., dust mites or pet dander) to insidious pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by adhesives, paints, furnishings, and cleaning products. Even seemingly harmless activities like cooking or burning candles can release harmful particulate matter and gasses into our air, exacerbating respiratory conditions such as asthma, particularly in children.  An astonishing 12.7% of asthma cases can be attributed to gas stoves.  In addition to respiratory problems, chronic exposure to indoor air pollutants, such as PM2.5 and benzene, has been linked to health effects like preterm labor, low birth weight, and increased rates of certain types of cancer.

The Silver Lining: Simple Solutions to Combat Indoor Pollution

Thankfully, there are some simple ways to help reduce the risks of indoor air pollution in your home.  Since gas stoves are one of the biggest offenders (and nationally, over 40 million homes cook with gas), replacing your gas stove with an electric one can have a considerable impact.  If you cannot part with your gas stove just yet, here are some alternate options to reduce emissions:

  • Cook with an induction cooktop.
  • Use other electric cooking devices like toaster ovens or air fryers.
  • Enhance kitchen ventilation by minimizing cooking times, using exhaust fans, and opening windows.

Another easy way to improve indoor air quality and reduce health risks is to utilize individual room air purifiers or ensure your HVAC system has an air filter with a MERV rating of 13 or higher.

To dive deeper into this topic, tune into this month’s Peds RAP segment, “Indoor Air Pollution and Health Effects in Kids,” with Sol Behar and Lisa Patel. They provide some insightful discussions about tackling indoor air pollution and safeguarding your family’s health.

Published by Jen Janocha, PA-C May 9, 2024
Jen Janocha, PA-C