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The Negative Health Effects of Poor Air Quality

Living in an environment with poor air quality can produce many long and short-term health complications. However, the symptoms you exhibit largely depend on the type of contaminants you’re around, the amount of them as well as your age and health.

Organic Pollutants

Contaminants like dander and dust mites trigger many allergy-like symptoms:

  • Fatigue,
  • Headaches,
  • Coughing,
  • Sneezing,
  • Congestion,
  • Irritated eyes,
  • Dry skin.

If you suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), then you might find these symptoms much worse. In fact, over time, they may develop into severer conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis.

Second-hand smoke produces most of the aforesaid symptoms; however, it is also carcinogenic. Likewise, exposure to mold and mildew can bring about acute respiratory problems. Mold, particularly, is dangerous because it can cause ‘sick building syndrome,’ which affects your short-term memory and can transform into different infectious diseases.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs come from many everyday products and appliances, making them difficult to eradicate. That said, in high concentrations, VOCs can induce:

  • Headaches,
  • Skin and respiratory irritations,
  • Confusion and discoordination,
  • Nausea,
  • Nosebleeds.

Over time, VOCs threaten to damage the heart, liver, kidneys and central nervous system.


Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be lethal in high doses. That said, most appliances contribute just a bit of CO to the home’s indoor pollution. Even still, you may suffer from headaches, angina and nausea if unfiltered.

For more information on the types of pollutants found in your home and how to get rid of them, read our previous blog, “The Most Common Sources of Indoor Pollution.”

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