7 Most Common Indoor Air Pollutants and Their Side Effects

Did you know 9 out of 10 people in the world are breathing air containing high levels of pollution? While most people assume outdoor pollutants are to blame, there is a shocking amount of indoor air pollution as well. In 2016, 3.8 million deaths worldwide were attributed in part to household pollution.1

Most Common Air Pollutants

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

  • Invisible and odorless gas
  • Produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels
  • Stops your body from obtaining oxygen by binding to hemoglobin first
  • Side effects: headaches, dizziness, confusion and death

Secondhand Smoke

  • Contains over 4,700 chemical ingredients2
  • Can cause the same health problems as smoking
  • Short-term side effects include throat, nose and eye irritation
  • Long-term side effects include wheezing, bronchitis, pneumonia and lung cancer


  • Can trigger an allergic reaction or asthma attack
  • Common symptoms: headaches, skin irritation, nasal stuffiness, coughing, wheezing, swelling and eye or throat irritation


  • Odorless and colorless gas that’s present virtually everywhere
  • Is produced naturally as uranium in the earth breaks down
  • Exposure to high levels increases risk of lung cancer
  • Dangerous levels of radon exist in approximately 1 in 15 U.S. homes3
  • Approximately 21,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

  • Toxic and corrosive gas
  • Irritates eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract
  • High exposure can lead to acute or chronic bronchitis, lung injury and pulmonary edema

Lead Particles

  • Natural metal that is toxic when consumed
  • Commonly used in house paint until 1978
  • Can cause damage to kidneys, red blood cells and the nervous system


  • Common group of minerals found naturally all over the world
  • Only hazardous when fibers become airborne
  • Long-term exposure can lead to lung cancer and asbestosis

How to Prevent Indoor Air Pollution

  • Check for elevated levels of pollutants and have them professionally removed
  • Check your heating system yearly for potential exhaust and gas leaks
  • Make sure combustion appliances are installed correctly
  • Do not use combustion appliances without vents
  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your house
  • Do not let your car idle in the garage
  • Do not allow tobacco products to be smoked inside the home
  • Make sure rooms are properly ventilated

Does your home contain pollutants?

Schedule your appointment today with the professionals at Air Temperature Control for an indoor air quality check.

Call 478-784-1109

1 http://www.kcra.com/article/90-percent-of-the-world-is-breathing-highly-polluted-air-who-says/20122366

2 https://usgreentechnology.com/7-common-indoor-air-pollutants/

3 https://www3.epa.gov/radtown/radon-homes-buildings.html

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