Do you suffer from frequent headaches, or worse, migraines? If you’re like 12% of Americans, you probably lose at least a few days per month to head pain. For some unfortunate individuals, this number climbs to ten or more days spent in pain every month. Moreover, research indicates that chronic headaches are on the rise and poor indoor air quality at home and at work is to blame!Poor indoor air quality is the most overlooked and often the easies to fix problem in a home. We find drastic improvement to our client’s health who first test their air quality then systematically removing the toxins that are contributing to headaches.
According to a study of over 4,300 people conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Toledo, Ball State University, and Virginia Tech, 38% of those who regularly spent time in environments with poor indoor air quality (such as old, poorly ventilated office buildings) reported experiencing a headache one to three times per month. Furthermore, 8% said that they experienced some degree of head pain every day. Women were found to be particularly susceptible to the headache-causing effects of polluted indoor air.
“VOCs” is an umbrella term that refers to a number of different toxic chemicals that are released into the air of our homes and offices by paint, treated wood, furnishings, cleansers, building materials, office supplies, etc. These include chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene (known carcinogens), propylene glycol, and acetone. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are a proven headache trigger. They are believed to cause headaches both by inflaming the sinuses and by causing damage to the brain and neurological system.
Many homes and office buildings provide the ideal “containment chamber” for toxic mold and other common allergens like dust mites and pollen. Constantly being exposed to these allergens leads to chronic sinus inflammation and even sinus infections, both of which can cause severe headaches. More worrying still, some varieties of mold contain dangerous particles called mycotoxins. In addition to harming the liver and kidneys, mycotoxins have been shown to cause chronic inflammation, migraine headaches, and severe fatigue. Because mycotoxins are so hazardous, it’s important to never attempt to remove mold you find in your home by yourself. Finally, remember that mold is not always found in obvious locations, like in the bathroom or on basement walls. Mold often lurks within ventilation systems and air conditioning units, where it can flourish thanks to high moisture levels and low light conditions. Mold sampling will identify the type of mold which then leads to the common sources for that particular mold to thrive.
Ultrafine particles (a type of particle so small that it can become embedded deeply in the lungs, causing lung damage and cardiovascular issues) can be released into the home via combustion reactions, e.g., through the use of fireplaces and wood stoves. Other sources for particulate matter include printers, fax machines, photocopiers, and other electronic devices. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, long term exposure to ultrafine particles can cause or worsen chronic migraines. We find that renovations will exponentially increase the harmful PM levels. IndoorDoctor measures the PM using a laser particle scanner.
Formaldehyde is a cancer causing gas found in many construction materials and household products to include foam insulation, particle board, pressed wood products like laminates, disinfectants, paints, varnishes, carpet adhesives, cardboard, cosmetics, and furniture, especially baby furniture. Exposure to formaldehyde causes eye, throat or nose irritations while others get headaches, dizziness, nausea or coughing. Exposure to formaldehyde increases your chances for nose and throat cancer. It can also cause an immune system response when it is first introduced to your system. These risks range from worrying to severe, with the worst reactions associated with the inhalation of the compound and prolonged exposure. IndoorDoctor can measure the formaldehyde in your home onsite and with approved laboratory samples.
Low oxygen levels are a notorious cause of “cluster headaches.” Unfortunately, as homeowners become more and more focused on keeping their homes tightly sealed and insulated (in order to keep in heat and save energy), poorly oxygenated indoor air is becoming a prevalent issue. Remember that keeping your home properly ventilated is just as important as keeping it properly insulated—especially if you’re prone to headaches.
Did you know that every home contains carbon monoxide. IndoorDoctor monitors for low level carbon monoxide that causes headaches. Many carbon monoxide detectors are designed to activate only when carbon monoxide levels reach fatal levels. As such, they usually won’t warn homeowners of non-lethal carbon monoxide levels. Low level carbon monoxide levels will not set off your carbon monoxide detector. Our clients experience headaches around 4 parts per million (ppm) and your home detector will not go off until readings exceed 150ppm which is a life-threatening situation. It’s a common misconception that carbon monoxide can only be a problem if one’s carbon monoxide detector is going off. This is a problem for headache sufferers, as even low levels of carbon monoxide can cause severe headaches and chronic fatigue. In order to truly rule out carbon monoxide exposure, you should have your indoor air professionally tested.
Carbon dioxide builds up in homes that are too tight. Levels above 1200ppm indicate insufficient fresh air exchanges. Homes that contain elevated carbon dioxide levels will contain higher levels of other toxins. Improving ventilation with a proper air recovery system or using shower exhaust fans may help improve overall airflow.
Sewer gasses not only smell but they can make you nauseous and induce headaches. These foul odors contain Sulfur Dioxide, Nitric Oxide, Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide and Carbon Monoxide. IndoorDoctor monitors each type of sewer gas to let you know if toxic gasses are entering your space.
We have formulated an exclusive testing package that measures the toxins in your home that cause headaches. The IndoorDoctor Health Air Check includes VOCs, toxic mold, harmful allergens, lung damaging particulates, poor oxygenation, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, sewer gasses and more.
Schedule your IndoorDoctor Healthy Air Check today for your healthier tomorrow.