What Is The Most Dangerous Indoor Air Pollutant?

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What Is The Most Dangerous Indoor Air Pollutant?

Too often when homeowners in Waterford, MI and Oxford, MI think about indoor air quality (IAQ) they think of it as a minor annoyance. Dust on the furniture. An occasional sore throat. A few annoying sneezes. Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing wants you to always remember some indoor air pollutants are life threatening. Let’s focus on the most dangerous.


If you’re going to talk about the immediate danger of death, then you must put CO gas at the top of the list. While there is evidence about adverse health effects from non-lethal levels of carbon monoxide, the true danger is that higher concentrations of this colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas can kill in a matter of hours. 

  • Possible sources include any fuel burning device. During heating season, we tend to focus on gas furnaces but there are many other devices that can prove deadly including:
    • Portable generators
    • Cars & trucks
    • Wood burning stoves & fireplaces
    • Kerosene or gas burning space heaters
    • Any gas appliance including water heaters, stoves, and dryers
  • The best way to prevent CO poisoning is to make sure all fuel burning devices are installed and or used properly. They should also be inspected regularly and receive seasonal maintenance.
  • Protect your family by installing carbon monoxide detectors or monitors as part of your indoor air quality plan.


While more associated with the outdoor air, this gas is also a harmful indoor air pollutant. Exposure can cause the following symptoms:

  • Impaired breathing
  • Inflamed airways
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • More frequent asthma attacks

The biggest source of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is vehicle emissions. Living near busy roads or highways greatly increases the chances of it becoming an indoor air pollutant. Charcoal grills and wood burning stoves and fireplaces also produce large amounts of NO2. Always make sure those devices are used correctly and properly vented to the outside.


Thankfully, lead pollution is much less prevalent than it was a few decades ago. This highly toxic heavy metal was widely used in paints and the construction industry. Lead accumulates in your organs, bones, and blood. Children are especially vulnerable as the lead causes learning disabilities. 

  • Possible sources include lead-based paint which was used until the late 1970s. Other possible sources include lead water pipes and old furniture or ornaments that may have a lead glaze. 
  • If you suspect lead paint is present in your home, you should hire a professional to have it removed. Trying to scrape it off yourself can lead to dangerous lead exposure.


This radioactive gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. 

  • The odorless, tasteless, and invisible gas forms naturally in soils and rocks. It becomes an indoor air pollutant by entering the home through cracks in floors and walls. There is evidence radon is also able to penetrate some types of concrete.
  • The only protection is to use a radon test kit to determine if the gas is present. 
  • Solving the problem almost always requires the services of a specialized company.


This is a mineral fiber that was once used widely in home insulation and other building materials. The use of asbestos has been largely banned in the U.S. as it causes multiple life-threatening respiratory diseases including lung cancer.

  • Asbestos can still be found in many older buildings and is particularly dangerous when it’s disturbed and the fibers drift on air.
  • If you even suspect the presence of asbestos in an older home or during a renovation project, it is extremely important to hire professionals to remove it.


The best way to safeguard your Waterford, MI or Oxford, MI home from indoor air pollutants is with a comprehensive plan to improve your indoor air quality. Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing features several types of advanced air filtration and purification systems. Call to schedule your no obligation appointment. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to learn more about the services we offer.