INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

 

 

WHAT IF…

Juan associated air pollution with just the cars and factories in his neighborhood. When he saw a doctor about his breathing problems, Juan was amazed to find just how much indoor air pollution, resulting from his room-mate's cigarette smoking, was contributing to his problems. Juan also wondered if other factors in the home can cause indoor air pollution and how he can find out about them. What can he do to improve his indoor environment, health, and quality of life?

Find out what may be polluting the air inside your home and what you can do about it.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

When most people think of air pollution, they tend to only consider outdoor air pollution. But pollutants that affect the quality of air in our homes, places of work, and our schools are a growing concern and can have serious health affects. 

 * American Lung Association

 

GET INFORMED!

Local:

Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 for information on some indoor air pollutants. 

Contact Environmental Health Watch at 216/961-4646 for information on the health effects of indoor air pollution.

 

Regional:

Contact US EPA’s Region 5 Air and Radiation Division at 800/621-8431 for information on indoor air pollution. 

Contact Laura Keptner at the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio at 216/281-5656 for information on indoor air pollution.

 

National:

Access the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Homepage for factsheets on indoor air pollution. 

Contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 to receive a copy of "The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality" and for other detailed information on indoor air pollution. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312. 

Access US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Homepage for general information on indoor air pollution and local indoor air pollution programs.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

5 Ways to Control Indoor Air Pollution:

Get Help: Contact Dale Mangum, Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 to get help with some indoor air pollution problems or to make a complaint. Call their 24-hour hotline at 216/441-7442 after business hours.

 

Remove Pollution Sources: This factsheet lists various common sources of indoor air pollution. Removing these sources of pollution will improve the quality of indoor air.

 

Improve Ventilation: Circulate outside air through buildings by opening windows, turning on fans, and keeping inside doors open.

 

Use Air Cleaners: Mechanical air filters that take pollutants out of the air are available. For information on air filters, contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 and ask for a copy of the brochure "Residential Air Cleaning Devices."

 

Contact Local Elected Officials: Write or call them asking them to support policies which address indoor air pollution in our homes, places of work, and schools. 

   

COMMON SOURCES OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION and WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

Click on the following:

 

 

SECONDHAND TOBACCO SMOKE

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effects:

 

 

GET INFORMED!

Regional:

Contact the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio 216/281-5656 for information on cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke.

 

National:

Contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 for information on secondhand smoke. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312.

Access US EPA Indoor Air Quality factsheets on secondhand smoke.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

Kick The Habit: Contact the American Lung Association Of Northern Ohio at 216/281-5656 for information on programs to quit smoking.

 

Don’t Smoke Near Children: And don’t allow others to smoke inside the home, car, or near children.

 

Join The Fight Against Childhood Smoking: Contact the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids at 800/284-KIDS.

 

 

  

RADON GAS

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effect:

 

 

GET INFORMED!

Regional:

Contact the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio at 216/281-5656 for a radon factsheet

Call the Ohio Department of Health Radiological Assistance Section at 800/523-4439 for information on radon.

 

National:

Contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 for information on radon or to receive a copy of "A Citizen’s Guide to Radon." Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312. 

Contact US EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800/426-4791 for information on radon in drinking water. 

Access US EPA’s radon factsheet

Call the National Radon Hotline at 800/SOS-RADON for a radon information packet.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

 TAKE ACTION!

Get Your Home Tested: You can’t see radon. The only way to find out if you have radon in your home is to get it tested. It's cheap and easy. Call the Ohio Department of Public Health Radiological Assistance Section at 800/523-4439 for home testing information, lists of licensed testing experts, and a coupon for discounts on home testing kits.

 

Remove Radon: Various technologies are available to reduce radon in the home. Call Ohio Department of Public Health Radiological Assistance Section at 800/523-4439 for information on these technologies.

 

Seal Cracks In Floors And Walls: Repairing these cracks will help prevent radon gas from leaking into the house.

 

Increase Ventilation: Opening windows on the lower levels of the home will increase ventilation and reduce radon levels.

 

Stop Smoking: Smoking combined with radon is a very serious health threat. Stop smoking and lower your radon levels to reduce the risk of lung cancer. Contact the American Lung Association Of Northern Ohio at 216/281-5656 for information on programs to kick the habit.

 

Radon In Your Water: Radon can get into well water. This is generally not a problem in Cleveland because most of the city’s drinking water comes from Lake Erie. If you are concerned, call the Ohio Department of Public Health Radiological Assistance Section at 800/523-4439 to find out about removing radon from your water.

 

 

 

BIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

Biological contaminants include:

 

Health Effects:

 

Symptoms:

Sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, fever, digestive problems, bleeding lungs, or coughing blood

 

  

GET INFORMED!

Local:

Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 for information on indoor air pollution.

 

National:

Contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 for information on biological contaminants. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312. 

Access US EPA’s factsheet on biological contaminants.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

  

TAKE ACTION!

Get Help: Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 to get help with indoor air pollution problems caused by biological contaminants. Call their 24-hour hotline at 216/441-7442 after business hours.

 

Increase Ventilation: Install fans in the kitchen and bathroom that are vented to the outdoors and keep fresh air circulating indoors. Ventilate attics and crawl spaces.

 

Keep Humidity Low: Mold, bacteria, and dust mites grow easily in damp, humid rooms. Humidity levels indoors should be 30%-50%.

 

Keep Indoor Areas Clean: Regular cleaning and vacuuming will keep dust, mildew, and other biological contaminants from building up. Avoid furniture that collects dust.

 

Avoid Using Humidifiers: Humidifiers are breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. If you must use one, keep it clean and refilled with fresh water every day.

 

Throw Away Water-Damaged Carpets: Harmful mold and bacteria grow on wet carpets and building materials. Even when dried and cleaned, these harmful materials can remain.

 

Keep Basement Clean and Dry: Damp basements can harbor many biological contaminants. Keep basements dry and well ventilated. Fix water leaks and keep floor drains clear and clean.

 

 

 

Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, and Particles

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effects:

  

 

GET INFORMED!

National:

Order the booklet "Protecting Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning" by calling the US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at 800/438-4318. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312. 

Order the booklet "What You Should Know About Combustion Appliances and Indoor Air Pollution" by calling the American Lung Association of Northeast Ohio at 216/281-5656. 

Access Consumer Product Safety Commission factsheets on carbon monoxide.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

Get Help: If you suspect a gas leak, call the Fire Department at 216/664-6370 or 216/621-1212 (for emergencies). Or contact the East Ohio Gas Company at 216/361-6933 for gas leaks or if you are having a problem with a heater, stove, or other combustible appliances.

 

Increase Indoor Ventilation: A good flow of fresh outdoor air through buildings is the easiest way to prevent indoor air pollution.

 

Properly Maintain Appliances: Carefully select, install, inspect, and maintain all appliances. Keep stove burners properly adjusted. Order the booklet "What You Should Know About Combustion Appliances and Indoor Air Pollution" by calling the US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at 800/438-4318. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312.

 

Properly Vent Appliances: Heating appliances should always be vented to the outside, keeping pollutants out of the house.

 

Buy Certified Appliances: All combustion appliances should be certified to meet safety standards. Certifying organizations include Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or American Gas Association (AGA) laboratories. Labels should clearly show these seals.

 

Be Careful Using Space Heaters: Strictly follow directions for use and maintenance. When in use, keep a window or door open for ventilation.

 

Use Exhaust Fans Over Gas Stoves: A stove fan vented to the outdoors will reduce pollution. Never heat your home with a gas stove.

 

Annually Inspect Furnaces, Flues, and Chimneys: These should be regularly inspected and repaired if damaged, cracked, blocked, or leaking. Follow instructions for use and maintenance. Regularly change filters.

 

 

 

Chemicals in Household Products

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effects:

  

 

GET INFORMED!

National:

Contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 for information on household chemical products. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312.

Access US EPA’s information on indoor air pollution and household chemical products.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

Follow Instructions Carefully: For example, if a label says to use only in a well ventilated area, only use the product outside.

 

Keep Out of Reach of Children: While these products cause indoor air pollution, some of them are also poisonous, especially when swallowed by children.

 

Store In Well Ventilated Areas: Fresh air from ventilation will help reduce your exposure to these materials.

 

Only Buy What You Need: Use these products only when you need them and only buy as much as you will use right away so you won’t need to store them.

 

Use Non-Chemical Alternatives If Possible: Many stores sell natural or nontoxic alternatives to most household cleaning products. Ask the store clerk for information or check Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District’s Homepage for tips on making and using nontoxic household cleaning products.

 

Dispose Of Unneeded Chemicals Carefully: Do not throw these materials into the trash. Call the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Division at 216/443-3749 for information on household chemical collection programs or for information on how to safely get rid of or recycle household chemicals.

 

 

 

Formaldehyde

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effects:

Get more information on health problems associated with formaldehyde by accessing EDF’s Chemical Scorecard.

  

 

GET INFORMED!

National:

Access Consumer Product Safety Commission information on formaldehyde

Contact US EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Hotline at 800/438-4318 for information on formaldehyde. Spanish speakers call the National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline at 800/725-8312.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

Get Help: Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 to get help with an indoor air pollution problem or to make a complaint. Call their 24-hour hotline at 216/441-7442 after business hours.

 

Keep Indoor Areas Well Ventilated: High heat and humidity may increase formaldehyde pollution. Keep indoor areas well ventilated with mild temperatures.

 

Buy Materials Containing Low Levels of Formaldehyde: When buying building materials, furniture, and other products, check with the salesperson to make sure they contain low levels of formaldehyde. If possible, avoid buying products with any formaldehyde in them.

 

Quit Smoking: Or keep people from smoking indoors. Call the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio 216/281-5656 for information on programs to kick the habit.

 

 

 

Pesticides

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effects:

  

 

GET INFORMED!

Regional:

Contact Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Regulation Section at 800/282-1955 for more information on handling pesticides in the home. 

 

National:

Contact the National Center for Environmental Publications at 800/490-9198 to order the brochure "Citizen’s Guide to Pesticides and Pesticide Safety." 

Contact the US EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs at 202/260-2090 for more information and brochures on pesticides. 

Contact the National Pesticide Telecommunications Network (NPTN) at 800/858-PEST for health and environmental information on specific pesticides.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

 TAKE ACTION!

Follow Instructions For Use: Follow instructions on the label. Never use a pesticide yourself that can only be applied by a licensed professional.

 

Mix or Dilute Outdoors and Increase Ventilation When Using Indoors: Take pets or plants outside when applying.

 

Use Safe, Stable, Or Non-Chemical Alternatives: Avoid using unstable and unsafe foggers, bombs, or sprays. Many natural, safe, stable, or non-chemical pest control methods are available, such as traps. They are safer and often cheaper than other chemical pesticides. Contact Environmental Health Watch at 216/961-4646 for information on safe pest control options.

 

Choose Pest Control Companies Carefully: Use only companies with a good record for safety and reliability.

 

Dispose Of Pesticides Safely: Purchase only what you need and safely dispose of what you don’t use. Don’t throw pesticides in the trash because they could leak into the ground or water. Call the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Division at 216/443-3749 for information on pesticide and chemical collection programs or for information on how to safely get rid of or recycle pesticides and chemicals.

 

Contact Poison Control Center at 216/231-4455 if you think a pesticide has poisoned you.

 

Join The Fight Against Unsafe Pesticide Use: Contact the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides at 202/543-5450.

 

 

 

Asbestos

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 

Health Effects:

Health effects and symptoms from asbestos exposure do not appear for many years.

Get more information on health problems associated with asbestos by accessing EDF’s Chemical Scorecard.

 

 

GET INFORMED!

Local:

Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 for information on asbestos.

 

Regional:

Contact Ohio EPA's Public Interest Center for information on asbestos by dialing the state operator at 216/787-3000. Ask for the Ohio EPA's Public Interest Center.

Contact US EPA Region 5 at 800/621-8431 for information on its asbestos program and to order the brochure "Asbestos in Your Home." 

Contact the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio at 216/281-5656 for information on asbestos.

 

National:

Find out if a product contains asbestos by contacting the US Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800/638-2772

Access US EPA’s factsheet on asbestos.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

Get Help: Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 to get your home tested for asbestos or for advice on dealing with the problem. Call their 24-hour hotline at 216/441-7442 after business hours.

 

Don’t Remove Asbestos Yourself: Removing asbestos puts fibers into the air that can be inhaled into the lungs. Pick a licensed contractor to remove asbestos from your home safely. Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 for information on licensed contractors.

 

Do Not Cut, Rip, or Sand Asbestos-Containing Materials: This sends asbestos fibers into the air which can be inhaled into the lungs.

 

Leave it Alone!: If you have asbestos in the home that is not damaged, leave it alone. If it's in good condition, it probably won’t hurt you.

 

 

 

Indoor Air Pollution At Your Workplace

Sick Building Syndrome

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

DO YOU KNOW?

 * American Lung Association

Symptoms of sick building syndrome include:

  

 

GET INFORMED!

Regional:

Contact the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio 216/281-5656 for their brochure "Indoor Air Pollution in the Office."

 

National:

Access US EPA information on indoor air pollution at your workplace.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION!

Ask the building or office manager to:

 

If problems persist:

Talk with other workers, your supervisor, and union representatives to see if others are having problems as well.

 

Talk with your doctor and report problems to the company doctor or health and safety officer. Encourage your employer to take action to solve the problem.

 

Get Help: Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 to get help with indoor air pollution problems at workplace. Call their 24-hour hotline at 216/441-7442 after business hours. You can also get help by calling the Cleveland office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 216/522-3818.

 

 

 

Indoor Air Pollution at School

Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink

 

GET INFORMED!

Local:

Contact Cleveland’s Office of Air Pollution Control at 216/664-2300 to get help with indoor air pollution problems in schools. Call their 24-hour hotline at 216/441-7442 after business hours.

National: 

Access US EPA’s information on indoor air pollution in schools.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.

 

 

SCP

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