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inside building cavities and cabinets, inhibiting evaporation.


• Fix a leaky basement. Control roof water and surface drainage to divert water away from the foundation. • Maintain a relative humidity of 30 to 50 percent indoors, using a humidi- ty meter (available at hardware stores). • Vent moisture-producing appli- ances to the outside (such as dryers and combustion appliances) and use dehumidifiers as necessary.


SYMPTOMS RELATED TO POOR INDOOR AIR QUALITY


• Headaches • Dizziness


• Poor concentration • Fatigue • Nausea • Vomiting


• Scratchy throat • Coughing • Running nose • Sneezing


• Irritated, itchy eyes • Skin irritation


Source: Environmental Protec- tion Agency’s Office of Indoor Air Quality


If you find mold, the EPA recom-


mends using detergent and warm water to scrub it from nonporous, hard surfaces. Mold growing on porous materials, such as wood, ceil- ing tiles, upholstery and carpet, may be difficult or impossible to remove completely, and the contaminated section may have to be removed and replaced. Avoid touching or inhaling any


mold. The EPA recommends wearing an N-95 respirator (available at many hardware and paint stores), with goggles and gloves, during cleanup and reminds us that the job’s not complete until the water or moisture problem is fixed.


If the mold has spread to a large area or a difficult spot, such as inside ductwork, or if occupants suspect hidden mold, call in a professional mold specialist.


4. VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS


VOCs are a class of gases that can cause eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, dizziness, nausea and allergic reactions, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Some are suspected or known human carcinogens.


VOCs are present in thousands of consumer products, including house- hold cleaners, air fresheners, aerosol sprays, pesticides, paints, wood stains and sealers, solvents, drycleaned gar- ments and stain-resistant carpets.


Prevention and Remediation • Look for low-and zero-VOC prod- ucts, such as paints that carry the Green Seal label. Manufacturers say that these paints perform as well as conventional brands, while emitting far fewer toxic chemicals. • Use only as much of a household product as recommended by the manufacturer, and increase venti- lation when using VOC-emitting products.


• Store products far from living and work spaces. VOCs can escape from sealed containers.


5. FORMALDEHYDE


Formaldehyde, a type of VOC, is primarily used in the production of resins. Formaldehyde can be re- leased into the air from materials by off-gassing. Unlike air pollutants like radon and CO, formaldehyde has a strong smell. Negative health effects include eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, fatigue, rashes and allergic reactions. This toxin causes cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans.


Urea-formaldehyde (UF) and phe- nol-formaldehyde (PF) resins are used in pressed wood products such as par- ticle board, plywood and fiberboard, often applied as sub-flooring and for shelving in cabinetry and furniture. Other sources include adhesives, UF foam insulation, fiberglass insulation and permanent press textiles.


Prevention and Remediation • Purchase pressed wood products that meet or exceed the U.S. Depart-


26 Hudson County NAHudson.com


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