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    Biological Pollutants in Your Home

    Prepared by: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and
    The American Lung Association, The Christmas Seal People

    What are Biological Pollutants?
    The Scope of the Problem
    Health Effects Of Biological Pollutants
    Talking to Your Doctor
    Coping with the Problem
    Self-Inspection: A Walk Through Your Home
    What You Can Do About Biological Pollutants
    Moisture Control
    Maintain and Clean All Appliances that Contact Water
    Dust Control
    Before You Move
    Where Biological Pollutants May be Found in the Home
    Correcting Water Damage
    Additional Sources of Information

    Air Purification Solutions

    This page will help you understand:

    1. what indoor biological pollution is;
    2. whether your home or lifestyle promotes its development; and,
    3. how to control its growth and buildup.

    Outdoor air pollution in cities is a major health problem. Much effort and money continues to be spent cleaning up pollution in the outdoor air. But air pollution can be a problem where you least expect it, in the place you may have thought was safest--your home. The EPA also reports that indoor air can be up to one hundred times more polluted than the air outside. One hundred times! Many ordinary activities such as cooking, heating, cooling, cleaning, and redecorating can cause the release and spread of indoor pollutants at home. Studies have shown that the air in our homes can be even more polluted than outdoor air.

    Many Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, often at home. Therefore, breathing clean indoor air can have an important impact on health. People who are inside a great deal may be at greater risk of developing health problems, or having problems made worse by indoor air pollutants. These people include infants, young children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.

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    What Are Biological Pollutants? Photo of dust mites

    Biological pollutants are or were living organisms. They promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work or school, and of doctor and hospital visits. Some can even damage surfaces inside and outside your house. Biological pollutants can travel through the air and are often invisible.

    Some common indoor biological pollutants are:

    • Animal Dander (minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin)
    • Dust Mite and Cockroach parts
    • Fungi (Molds)
    • Infectious agents (bacteria or viruses)
    • Pollen

    Some of these substances are in every home. It is impossible to get rid of them all. Even a spotless home may permit the growth of biological pollutants. Two conditions are essential to support biological growth: nutrients and moisture. These conditions can be found in many locations, such as bathrooms, damp or flooded basements, wet /web/20110912041242/"> American Lung Association for copies of: Indoor Air Pollution Fact Sheets, Air Pollution in Your Home? and other publications on indoor air pollution.

    Contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207, for copies of Humidifier Safety Alert.

    To report an unsafe consumer product or product-related health problem, consumers may call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772. A teletypewriter for the hearing impaired is available at 1-800-638-8270; the Maryland TTY number is 1-800-492-8104.

    You may also contact EPA's IAQ INFO Clearinghouse at 1-800-438-4318 (or (703) 356-4020) for more information on indoor air quality and to order publications from the list of IAQ publications.

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