Air pollution is a serious problem that threatens our health every day. But most people don't realize that air pollution indoors is just as much of a problem as air pollution outside. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. In fact, since most of us spend the majority of our time indoors, it is essential to our health and wellness to keep the air we breathe at home, at work and at school, as clean as possible. We're offering some tips and tricks to keep your indoor air fresh and clean.
Clean Air at Home
Home is most people's safe haven. But your household air can cause health problems. Follow these few simple steps to improve the air quality in your home and keep your home a safe space.
- Declare your home a smokefree zone and insist that smokers always take it outside.
- Test your home for radon, a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that pollutes many homes and is linked to lung cancer.
- Fix leaks to eliminate standing water and discourage mold growth.
- Put away food, cover trash and use baits to control cockroaches and other pests.
- Be aware of what is in the cleaning supplies you use and opt for less toxic products. Keep more hazardous cleaners outside the home.
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels under 50 percent.
- Consider a high-quality air purifier that can capture and destroy harmful particles. Make sure the device does not produce ozone, another harmful air pollutant. Place it in rooms where the most vulnerable members of your family—children, older adults and people with lung or heart diseases—spend the most time.
- Avoid burning wood inside to prevent unhealthy soot from pollution the air. Wood burning can also contribute to outdoor air pollution. Learn more in our "State of the Air" report.
Clean Air at Work
Americans spend more than half of their time at work, which is why everyone should be concerned with the air they are breathing while on the job. Depending on the industry, certain types of workers may be more at risk if they are exposed to airborne contaminants daily. Creating a safer and healthier work environment for all employees can be done by taking a few simple steps.
- Keep air all vents open and unblocked.
- Eliminate the use of hazardous materials, substituting when possible for nonhazardous alternatives.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment at all times.
- Make sure food is stored properly and the trash is regularly disposed of.
- Report and clean up water spills.
- Similar to at home, using a high-quality air purifier that can capture harmful particles.
Find out more about how to identify air pollution at work on our website.
Clean Air at School
Air pollution in the classroom affects how children learn and harm their growing lungs. It also causes health problems for faculty and staff. Here's how you can help ensure healthy air in schools where children learn and play.
- Advocate for a tobacco-free policy at your child's school. The American Lung Association smoking cessation and education programs for kids to help them kick nicotine addiction. Learn more about Not On Tobacco and INDEPTH.
- Prevent school buses from idling outside the school to prevent the toxic fumes they emit from getting into the classroom.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association created a downloadable guide to help schools provide healthy air for all students, faculty and staff. Learn more about the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program.
- The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is an education tool that provides schools with the tools they need to make sure the air in their buildings is free of asthma triggers.
- Be aware of hotspots like locker rooms, darkrooms, labs and art rooms. Keeping the ventilation systems up to date is essential.
Blog last updated: August 29, 2023