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Common air pollutants

The following pollutants can be common to households in Australia

 

The following pollutants can be common to households in Australia

Asbestos

Asbestos was commonly used up to the 1980’s but was still in circulation up until 31st of December 2003 when it became illegal. Houses built in the 80’s and prior have a stronger chance of containing asbestos building materials. Studies have shown that 98% of houses built in Victoria prior to 1976, were built with asbestos materials.

Mould

Mould most likely grows alongside high moisture levels/high humidity. “Black mould”, amongst many other harmful species of mould can be quite detrimental to nearby occupants’ health.

Volatile Organic Compounds

VOCs are gasses that can be emitted from various items in the household. Whilst some VOCs can be non hazardous, there are other VOCs that can be quite harmful, such as those that are emitted from varnishes, paints, cleaning chemicals etc. Long term exposure can be quite harmful to the body.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a commonly used preservative found in wood, fabrics, paper, air refreshers, cigarettes and other such common items. Formaldehyde breaks down and our bodies can absorb it. Being carcinogenic it can be harmful to occupants’ health.

Carbon Dioxide & Carbon monoxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2), is what we breathe out, but higher levels of CO2 in the air can cause drowsiness, fatigue and/or poor concentration levels. Places such as an office, can suffer a lot from these symptoms. Poor ventilation can be a large contributing factor to high CO2 levels. Carbon monoxide (CO) can be produced by combustion, such as the burning of charcoal, wood, gas or by barbecues, cigarettes and motor vehicles. CO is particularly unhealthy to breath as the blood stream absorbs the CO faster than oxygen, and can become an asphyxiant, which could eventually cause suffocation, at high levels.

Airborne Particulate

Airborne Particulate is a common cause of poor air quality. Particulate matter (PM) is divided into two main classes in regards to air quality – PM2.5 and PM10. PM10 is particulate 10 micrometres or smaller, and PM2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or smaller. Both PM2.5 and PM10 can be hazardous to health, but PM2.5 can penetrate deep into your lungs and is generally considered more hazardous.

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