The Impact of Pesticides On Indoor Air Quality
As it gets warmer here in Michigan (and elsewhere) people are starting to garden and pay attention to their lawns again, as well as tackling the never-ending battle against the bugs. One way a lot of people control pests and weeds is the use of pesticides. Pesticides are toxic by nature, after all the “-cide” in pesticide literally means “to kill” and trust me when I say you do not want them in the air you breathe. According to the article “Pesticides’ impact on indoor air quality” from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), says that 75% of U.S. households have used at least one type of pesticide indoors in the past year. Another study mentioned in the article states that 80% of most people’s exposure to pesticides happens indoors, so even only using pesticides outside can still be hazardous to your health.
Traces of a dozen pesticides have been found indoors and you might be wondering (and I had the same thought) “how do they get in there?”. According to the article one way pesticides get into your house’s air is through contaminated soil, dust, or grass that gets tracked in from outside. When you walk on a lawn or garden that has been dusted with fertilizers or pesticides, they stay on the soles of your shoes, which usually end up inside on a shoe rack and emitting the toxins you just brought inside. Pesticides can also enter your home through the containers holding them that might not have the lid on tight enough, open windows that allow pesticides to be carried indoors, or household surfaces that hold and later release pesticide particles such as rugs, carpet, or furniture fabrics.
Pesticides are considered a semi-volatile organic compound that come with many different chemicals in many different forms. In addition to the main, active ingredient, pesticides are made up of other components designed to carry the active ingredient, called “inerts”. Inerts are not toxic to the targeted bug, weed, or pest, but some are still very capable of causing health problems.
Because pesticides are so toxic and designed to kill, there are quite a few ways exposure to them can negatively effect your health. Brief exposure to pesticide’s chemicals can result in irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, as well as an increased risk of cancer. Chronic exposure to some pesticides can damage to the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and endocrine system.
Of course, using pesticides safely and minimally is a good way to reduce the their presence in your indoor air. Using more natural alternatives when possible is also a smart choice (personally I’ve found vinegar works very well).
Unfortunately, you cannot control what other people may spray, fertilize, or spread in their lawns or homes, so the most reliable way to keep your air clean is to purchase an air cleaner. General Filters air cleaners all have been designed to catch small particles that may negatively affect your indoor air quality and keep your home’s air safe and clean. Keep you, your family members, your pets, and your neighbors safe from possibly inhaling pesticides by investing in one of the air cleaners linked below.