Four Indoor Air Pollutants Linked to Asthma

Poor indoor air quality can worsen asthma symptoms or contribute to the development of the illness. Homeowners with sensitive airways or who have children should act to improve the air quality of their homes to protect their health and that of their loved ones.

Poor indoor air quality

It’s a fact that indoor air quality is often significantly worse than that of outdoor air. As we spend the vast majority of our days indoors, poor indoor air quality can have a significant influence on our health, particularly for those who suffer from respiratory ailments. Asthma attacks are often triggered by a number of environmental conditions, with many common indoor pollutants being among them.

Some common indoor air pollutants that can contribute to new asthma cases or exacerbate existing cases include:

  • Nitrogen dioxide – This gas is emitted by kerosene heaters and natural gas-fired stoves. NO2 has been found to be linked to increased risk for a variety of respiratory conditions.
  • Dust and pet dander – These particles can irritate the airways and cause coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Tobacco smoke – Tobacco smoke has been identified as a respiratory tract irritant by a strong body of research. People who smoke can greatly improve indoor air quality by quitting tobacco or by only smoking outdoors.
  • Chemical odors – Paint, pesticides, fragrances, toner from photocopiers, and other chemicals can emit gases that trigger asthma. Many office and retail workers develop work-related asthma from prolonged exposure to these pollutants.