March 2016

Explaining Toxic Home Syndrome

The UK is set to fail to meet EU air pollution targets by 2020. Poor air quality is becoming an increasing problem within the UK and has been directly attributed to 40,000 premature deaths a year within the UK alone. However air pollution isn't confined to just busy cities, it is also found within your home and can manifest itself as Toxic Home Syndrome.

What is Toxic Home Syndrome?

Toxic Home Syndrome, also known as Sick Building Syndrome, is caused through the build-up of chemicals, bacteria and other pollutants within the air of your home. It has been found to worsen existing respiratory issues, such as asthma, as well as cause new breathing problems.

Where is Toxic Home Syndrome found?

Toxic Home Syndrome is commonly found within modern buildings. this is due to the improved building quality. The desire for greater insulation and energy efficiency within modern properties has led to fewer opportunities for toxins and pollutants to escape the indoor environment.

What causes Toxic Home Syndrome?

The build-up of pollutants, bacteria and moisture eventually leads to Toxic Home Syndrome developing. There is no particular activity that causes this to develop, but many everyday activities can directly contribute to Toxic Home Syndrome occuring within your home. That being said, some of the most common factors the lead to Toxic Home Syndrome are:
  • Condensation and damp - this leads to mould that could prove harmful to your health.
  • Washing and drying your laundry indoors - washing machines and tumble dryers release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. These have been proven to be carcinogenic but haven't been traced to any particular detergent ingredient.
  • Carpets - carpets tap dirt and other potentially harmful particles within their fibres. These particles get released during everyday use and can trigger respiratory problems.
What are the symptoms of Toxic Home Syndrome?
Currently 81% of UK residents are at risk of Toxic Home Syndrome and typical symptoms include:
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
In more severe cases, Toxic Home Syndrome can cause:
  • Rashes
  • Asthma attacks
  • Respiratory problems and lunge disease
What can I do to prevent Toxic Home Syndrome?
There are many simple ways to improve your indoor air quality and combat Toxic Home Syndrome, including:
  • Proper ventilation - by properly ventilating your home, be it by installing a ventilation system or just by opening your windows from time to time, you limit the build-up of harmful particles within your home.
  • Use wood flooring wherever possible - wood floors are easier to clean than carpets and don't trap dirt and hair that can trigger allergies and affect your breathing.
  • Removing your shoes at the door - by not wearing shoes indoors, you avoid trailing dirt and spreading other potentially harmful particles around your home.