Can I do anything to reduce air pollution in my home?

Yes. The changes you can make depend on the source of your contaminants.

Sources of indoor air pollution

Indoor air pollution can come from both outdoor or indoor sources. Some chemicals are directly emitted from aerosols, cleaning products, soft furnishings, flooring, the surfaces of building materials and other products.

Biological pollutants

  • moulds and fungi
  • dust mites
  • bacteria causing Legionnaires' disease from spa pools

Chemical pollutants

  • formaldehyde emitted by processed wood products such as particleboard
  • brominated flame retardants emitted by computers and some furniture
  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from new carpets and curtains or dry-cleaned clothing and furnishings
  • aeorsols
  • solvents and resins used in manufacturing materials
  • automotive exhausts from attached garages
  • ceiling dust from the roof cavity

Pollutants from renovating

  • asbestos fibres from fibro
  • copper chrome arsenate from treated timber
  • lead from old paint
  • VOCs from lacquers and paints

Ways to minimise indoor air pollution

Keep indoor spaces well-ventilated so pollutants from indoor sources and moisture do not build up, especially in humid rooms like bathrooms. Moisture control is important as dampness encourages both dust mites and mould, which can impact on your health.

Take these steps to remove or limit indoor air pollution:

  • do not allow smoking
  • ensure fuel-burning appliances are well maintained and inspected regularly
  • vent stoves and flue gas heaters outdoors
  • ensure any leaks and cracks in walls, floors and roofs are fixed
  • keep your home clean: dust and vacuum regularly, clean any mould immediately
  • do not idle your car or run other fuel-burning engines in an attached garage
  • keep any doors between your garage and home closed
  • do not store paints, solvents or varnishes inside
  • consider replacing carpets with bare floors, as carpets can trap indoor pollutants
  • choose low-toxic timber flooring or timber varnishes
  • choose non-polluting or low-emission paints, sealants, adhesives, insulation and wood products and cleaning products
  • choose formaldehyde-free wood products.

About indoor air pollution

Indoor air pollution can pose a risk to health. As we spend so much time indoors, it is important that the air is as clean as possible.

Learn more about indoor air pollution

This information is provided by NSW Health, the agency responsible for indoor air quality issues in NSW.