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Should you test your indoor air?

(NC) Testing your indoor air sounds like a great idea. But pollutants such as mould and chemicals are difficult to measure correctly, and results are hard to interpret.

Instead, you can improve your indoor air quality by addressing sources of indoor air pollution and improving your home’s ventilation. To reduce air pollutants inside your home:

• Make sure your furnace and other fuel-burning appliances are well maintained to prevent carbon monoxide accumulation. Change your furnace filter regularly. • Do not smoke indoors. Cigarettes emit many chemicals including carbon monoxide, particles and formaldehyde. • Reduce the use of candles and incense.

Increasing the ventilation in your home is one of the biggest things you can do to improve the air around you. Start with these simple actions:

• use your range hood on the highest setting while cooking, • open windows, when outdoor air quality permits, • use bathroom fans when showering or bathing to reduce humidity and prevent mould, • use your furnace fan or, if necessary, a separate fan to distribute air, and • set your ventilation system to a higher setting or let it run longer.

The only indoor air pollutant you can get reliable test results for is radon, a radioactive gas that can get into your home and can cause lung cancer. Fortunately, you can take action to measure and lower the radon level in your home to reduce your risk of lung cancer. A simple DIY test kit can help.

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