6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Stop air pollution inside your home

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(ABC 6 News) – Believe it or not, the air quality inside your home can be worse than the air you breath outside, especially in colder months when we keep windows and doors closed.

Consumer Reports explains there are some simple steps you can take to improve the air you breathe.

While newer, more tightly sealed home construction improves energy efficiency, Consumer Reports says it is also partly to blame for indoor pollutants.

Where are they coming from? Gas stoves for one.

Tests by Consumer Reports confirm they’re a possible source of toxicity and are cause for concern.

So, what can you do?

“Think ventilation!” says Consumer Reports’ Paul Hope. “Use your range hood while you’re cooking or open the window to get the cleaner, outside, air IN.”

Other pollutants? VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds emitted from cleaning agents, pesticides, aerosols, even couches and carpets.

Irritants to your throat, nose, and eyes, some may even cause cancer. The solution?

“Try not to use some of the harsh chemicals out there to clean your home. If you do use them, again ventilate, and open the windows” says Hope.

And buy mattresses and furnishings that use natural fibers, like cotton.

Keep your home dust free – use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap contaminants, and clean or change the filters in your air conditioner. Air purifiers can also help.

You’ll likely smell our next pollutant, mold!

Often caused by humidity, it can cause rashes, flulike symptoms, eye and lung irritation. Consider a dehumidifier.

If your mold stems from a recent weather disaster you might be eligible for federal assistance.

And that odorless, colorless, sometimes fatal gas, Carbon Monoxide? Install a detector on every level of your home and outside each sleep area.

Consumer Reports also recommends checking for radon, a radioactive gas that can seep into your home from water and soil.

And if your house was built around 1980, or before, check for asbestos and lead. You may want to work with a professional to see what options you have to make sure your home is safe.