“Indoor Air” is the term used for the air contained within a building, such a house, an apartment, an office, a factory, a hospital, or a gym. Environmental air pollution is defined as when toxic chemicals, airborne particles or biological materials that can harm living organisms is introduced to the atmosphere. It can consist of a mix between gases and solid particles in the air that consists of fumes, odour, dust and gases. The term ‘Indoor Air Pollution’ describes the toxic fumes and gases that we are exposed to while at the workplace, in a hospital, at a shopping center or in our own homes. Indoor Air Pollution is made up of many components but it is the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds that interests environmental scientists. Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are those gases that are emitted from the combination of particular liquids or solids. VOCs are comprised of a number of chemicals which can result in short and long-term side effects that indicate harm to an occupant’s health. The concentration of certain VOCs is up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors and there are thousands of products that can emit VOCs in gaseous form.
VOCs & Their Impact on Health
Prolonged exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds results in the following possible health effects:
– Irritation in the eyes, nose and throat
-Nausea, loss of coordination and headaches
– Damage to the kidneys, liver and the central nervous system
-Certain organics can result in the development of cancer in animals, while other organics are known to be the cause of cancer in humans
Symptoms that indicate exposure to VOCs are:
-Nose and throat discomfort
-Irritation in one or both eyes
-Allergic skin reaction
-Labored or difficult breathing and/or shortness of breath
-Bleeding from the nose
The exact nature and extent of the adverse health effect caused by VOCs depends on the length of time exposed and the level of exposure.
What is Activated Charcoal?
People have been using charcoal for about as long as human history has been recorded. Charcoal is a form of carbon that is produced by heating wood or other organic substances in an airless enclosed space. Activated charcoal, by definition, is an odorless and tasteless substance that is extremely porous. One teaspoon of charcoal comprises a surface area of more than 10,000 square feet. Activated charcoal that has been treated with oxygen results in millions of tiny pores opening up between the carbon atoms. These tiny pores result in a process called adsorption where certain chemicals are attracted to the activated charcoal and bond with it. While air or water is flowing through an activated charcoal-laced filter, the charcoal adsorbs and traps pollutants and odor particles.
Activated Charcoal’s Role in VOC Removal
The most common environmentally-friendly use of activated carbon is within air filters for industrial and home applications. When put to use in the home, activated carbon filters remove VOCs that are floating about due to cleansers, refrigerants, paints, cooking fumes, pet dander and other products or irritants. Those with breathing problems like asthma will benefit from the use of activated carbon filters as they efficiently remove environmental triggers. Aerosol propellants, such as party horns to whipped cream spray cans, emit dangerously high levels of hydro flourocarbons (HFCs) and VOCs into an environment. Since activated carbon has an amazing capacity for storing gas while being nontoxic, it is a preferred alternative to aerosol sprays for natural gas storage systems, oxygen canisters, and mobile air conditioning units.
Activated Charcoal’s Role in Odor Removal
Activated charcoal is incredibly effective in remove the most stubborn of offensive odors. Activated charcoal filters can remove all sorts of smells and odors, including burnt food, strong spices, cigarette, pet odor, new paint or carpet smells after a home renovation. Activated charcoal can even mask persisting chemical or fume odor after a pest infestation treatment. People use activated charcoal odor absorber products to deodorize their refrigerators and remove the smell of mold in washing machines.
Humidity Control & Activated Charcoal
Hardened activated charcoal is recognized for its ability to control humidity in enclosed spaces. To protect your memories and valuables that are placed in the attic, the basement or a remote storage unit, it is recommended that you invest in a moisture control kit that contains activated charcoal as its primary ingredient. Activated charcoal will prevent corrosion, moisture damage and the development of mildew – even over extended periods of time. Moisture control kits with activated charcoal can also be used to protect the insides of vehicles that are going into storage.
How and Where to Use Activated Charcoal in Indoor Spaces
There is no need to search for reasons to use activated charcoal in your home or office, there are literally hundreds of products that include activate charcoal as a key ingredient. Whether at your desk or in the bedroom, air purifiers and air conditioners with activated charcoal filters can rid the environment of allergens and pollutants. Carbon filters also work to remove the air of unpleasant odors and smells. Some people opt to burn small charcoal briquettes to clear the air of toxins, but these pose a fire hazard and must be used with care. Tap water that is unfiltrated poses a serious health risk. Avoid the risk of ingesting toxins and chemicals in the tap water by using charcoal water filters. Activated charcoal water filters are now available in the market for installation throughout a home as well as simpler, countertop models.
Benefits of Activated Charcoal
Regular room fresheners and wardrobe sprays simply mask existing odors and smells for a short period of time. Not only is their effect short-lived, they are also not environmentally-friendly as they are filled with chemicals and artificial smells. Activated charcoal fresheners do wonders to absorb and permanently remove odors throughout the home – from stinky shoes, to a musty gym bag or a dusty set of drawers. Activated charcoal cleans the air naturally and results in considerably less air pollution within the home. Charcoal air fresheners can be used throughout the house, from the bathroom to the inside of the sock drawer, to provide cleaner, odor-free air.
Indoor Air Pollution is a result of adopting the use of materials and products that can emit dangerous gases over a period of time. Those who understand the risks of indoor air pollution now trust activated charcoal as it is a non-toxic, fragrance-free, organic substance that helps clean the air naturally. The use of products that include activated charcoal helps protect your home and office from the dangers of overexposure to VOCs.