Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Air pollution is not something that only occurs outdoors. Most of us are not very aware of it, but there are many indoor air pollutants present in our homes and offices. Not only are they diverse, they can pose a real threat to our health.

Let us examine the most common types of air pollutants that can easily get into your house. Our goal is to help you identify them and make you aware of their existence so that you can better protect the air you breathe indoors.

Allergens: Dust, pollen, and others

Allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases. An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it.

Due to this, the immune system is subject to stress and drains the body’s energy, making you more susceptible to dangerous attacks by harmful viruses, bacteria, moulds, fungi, etc.

Chemical fumes and vapors

Many elements that we commonly have at home or at office release harmful particles into the air constantly. It’s not rare to find indoor spaces that exceed the permissible exposure limits established for job site safety, thus adding potentially harmful chemical fumes and vapours to the indoor air.

This list is long and includes new synthetic fibres and fabrics, plastics, insulation materials, glues and other adhesives, solvents, paints, stains, cleaning substances, plug-in and stand-alone chemical deodorizers, and various aerosols.

Read more about toxic particles in the “new car smell”

Molds and fungus

Many moulds are allergenic and some even produce fungal poisons under specific conditions that benefit them.

Moulds thrive on moisture and often can be visible around bathroom fixtures. Sometimes they grow in hidden places like air conditioners, humidifiers, and heat exchangers and find their way into the air you breathe.

Toxic indoor gases

These include carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen and can be produced by fireplaces, gas stoves and heaters. In small doses, they can inhibit healthy respiration and drain your energy.

  • Carbon monoxide (CO): An odourless, invisible gas, produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. It stops your body from using the oxygen it needs to work normally. You may experience tiredness, headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and a fast heart rate.
  • Radon: It’s a colourless, odourless gas that occurs naturally and is found everywhere at varying low levels. Radon is constantly produced from the breakdown of uranium in soil or rock. Exposure to elevated levels of radon increases the risk of lung cancer.
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): It’s a toxic and corrosive gas. Moderate exposure can lead to acute or chronic bronchitis. Low-level exposure can impair lung function for people who are already at risk, such as asthmatics, people with chronic obstructive lung disease, and children.
  • Formaldehyde: A colourless gas which has a distinctive, pungent odour at higher concentrations. It has many applications, is a good preservative, and products made with formaldehyde make an excellent adhesive. The particles of this substance are released from those products especially when they are new. They can be found in plywood, furniture fabrics, glues, and adhesives.

Bacteria and viruses

Bacteria and viruses are abundant in our environment. They are very resistant organisms that can cause infections, and due to the over-use of antibiotics in our modern society, they constantly evolve to grow stronger and avoid being damaged by our medicines.


Cigarette smoke contains over 3,000 toxic chemicals and gases. Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S each year, including second-hand smoking. And according to the same source, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in that country.

This figure includes death from smoking-related diseases such as cancers, emphysema, and heart disease. Involuntary or second-hand smokers have decreased respiratory function and increased respiratory illnesses.


Now you know that even though your home looks clean and tidy, there might be many indoor air pollutants floating around, putting you at risk in your own house when you inhale them.

We must be careful when purchasing different home appliances and be aware of the substances that come with them and can easily get on the air.

We also recommend you have an air purifying system at home. Purlife’s indoor air purifier can remove up to 99.97% of harmful pollutants and helps you and your family breathe good quality air.