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Blog/Opinion: What are the types of contaminants that are often found indoors?

By HHI Staff

We usually put them into six categories:


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  1. Biologicals (pollutants that are, or once were, alive) such as mold, mildew, pollen, dust mites, animal dander, bacteria, and viruses.
  2. Gases resulting from human and pet metabolism (ammonia, certain alcohols, carbon dioxide, methane, etc.), gases that are by-products of combustion (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, etc.), and gases that are released by synthetic and man-made products (formaldehyde, hexane, toluene, etc.).
  3. Metals such as lead (which used to be popular in paint), mercury (once used as a fungicide in paint and drywall compound), arsenic and chromium (widely used in chemically treated lumber).
  4. Minerals such as asbestos (found in some older insulation, vinyl tiles, and drywall compounds), mineral fibers and particles from fiberglass insulation, and airborne minerals spewed out of humidifiers from tap water.
  5. Radiation from naturally occurring radon, electromagnetic radiation from wiring and electrical appliances, and radioactive materials in some smoke detectors and compact-fluorescent lamps.
  6. Vapors, which in most houses means too much water vapor, something that can lead pollutant problems such as mold growth—or rot.


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(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

What are the types of contaminants that are often found indoors?:  Created on September 16th, 2010.  Last Modified on September 19th, 2010


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