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Indoor Air Pollution: Are You at Risk?

Cigarette smoke and other irritants can build up indoors, causing allergic reactions, asthma, even lung cancer.

Household Products

Household cleaners and hobby supplies can cause you problems -- but mostly, only when you're using them, says Pacheco. "Some glues can be bad for you and should be used only in a well-ventilated area, just like cleaning products. But just sitting there in a bottle or a can, they won't hurt you."

The classic at-home hazard: mixing ammonia and bleach, which produces chlorine gas. "That's really bad for you. It can really damage airways. That tops my list of list of hazards," she notes. "I understand why people want to do that, to clean an area, but it's not a good combination."

Wood-Burning Stoves

If wood stoves are not properly vented, they can give off particulates and nitrogen dioxide. "There's some evidence that asthmatics might have problems from wood stoves," says Pacheco. Improperly vented gas ranges can also cause respiratory problems. It's important to get these checked if there are signs of problems.

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