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What Exactly is in Every Breath You Take?
Pieces of Bugs, Stars and Much More

You take an average of 24,000 breaths every day. This amounts to about 2 gallons of air taken into your body every minute, and almost 3,000 gallons every day.

breathing air

There are cockroach parts, fungal spores, and byproducts of human flatulence in your breathing air, but there's no need to hold your breath. Keep reading to find out why one expert says these extra particles may be beneficial.

While you may typically think of "air" as oxygen, this vital gas makes up only a small portion of the gaseous mix you inhale. In fact, air is made up of:

  • 78 percent nitrogen

  • 21 percent oxygen

  • Less than 1 percent carbon dioxide

  • Trace amounts of other gases

Of course, there are also contaminants in our air, more commonly called air pollution, that come from various human activities. This includes particle pollution, the kind that comes from diesel exhaust fumes, power plant and factory smoke and soot from wood burning and ozone pollution (also known as smog).

Just what types of contaminants are released into the air? Cancer-causing formaldehyde (to the tune of 250,000 tons a year), benzene (about 375,000 tons a year) and ammonia from agricultural operations (2 million tons year), to name a few.

But while you may expect some of these environmental pollutants to be lurking in the air you breathe, there are other, quite shocking, things -- from underground, outer space and more -- in there as well.

Your Air Travels Around the World

Molecules in air ricochet off one another at hundreds of miles per hour. In just weeks, any given volume of air molecules will have traveled around the world. In a few years, those same molecules will be evenly spread throughout the entire lower atmosphere of the planet, according to DISCOVER Magazine.

What does this mean to you? In short, that any and every particle that's released into the air will eventually make it to your neck of the woods, and very likely into your lungs.

breaths per day

The average adult takes in 24,000 breaths in a day, but when you exercise you may take in much more than that.

Certain pollutants ARE exempt from this rotating process because they're broken down before they travel too far, yet many chemicals do travel thousands upon thousands of miles.

Take, for instance, cosmic dust. This once belonged to huge space rocks that, fortunately, were broken down by the Earth's atmosphere. Still, the particles trickle down and move through the air, and we all reportedly inhale three particles from a meteoroid every year, according to DISCOVER.

The Air in Your Home

While your outdoor air may be ripe with chemicals, your indoor air is an entirely different animal. DISCOVER has pinpointed the numerous sundries in your home and office environments. Consider that in your home you're breathing in:

  • Chlorine gas from your cleaning products

  • Pieces of cockroaches and other bugs

  • Microscopic dust mites

Meanwhile, at work, a cubic meter of air in your office contains:

  • Several hundred fungal spores

  • 89 micrograms of ethanol

  • 42 micrograms of acetone

  • 16 micrograms of formaldehyde

  • 1/2 microgram of chloroform

  • Byproducts of your coworkers' flatulence

But that's not all. Every time you change your clothes, you jostle up 1 million microbes into the air every minute.

Reduce Bug Parts and Chemical Residues in Your Home's Air PerfectClean's Complete Mop and Dusting Kit

PerfectClean is the line of cleaning tools that leading hospitals and healthcare organizations use for several reasons:

  1. The ultramicrofiber construction picks up far more dust, dirt and biological contaminants than any other cleaning tool, so your home is significantly cleaner

  2. Unlike chemical cleaners and typical mops and sponges, which are loaded with germs, PerfectClean products are 100% safe due to their ultramicrofiber construction

  3. Hospitals and other organizations use them 100 times or more ... so they will save you money as you can eliminate chemical cleaners and avoid constantly replacing towels, mop heads, etc.


  • One (1) EasyGrip 16" Wide Flat Mop System w/Ergonomic Handle

  • Two (2) Flat Mop Heads

  • One (1) Flexible Duster

  • Two (2) Duster Covers

Due to the positively charged ultramicrofibers, these mops and dusters pick up everything in their path including dust, crumbs, pet hair, lint and contaminants invisible to the naked eye. Use them wet or dry -- only water is needed!

The EasyGrip Mop and Flexible Duster are made with the finest, most-durable ultramicrofiber material -- they can be washed OVER 100 TIMES before replacing them. This is not only the most effective mopping/system you will find anywhere, but it is also the most cost-effective!

Read More and Purchase PerfectClean's Complete Mop and Dusting Kit Now!

And if you've ever experienced flooding in your home, indoor mold is most assuredly also in your air.

Is all of this random "stuff" in your air harmful? Quite the contrary.

The low levels of bacteria and other microbes in your air may help to boost your immune system, according to Eoin Brodie, a microbiologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

"It may actually be protecting us," he says in DISCOVER.

Of course, the idea of breathing in cockroach bits is not pleasant. Household dust alone contains not only insect parts (including ant heads and more) but also:

  • Shed human skin cells

  • Flame retardants like polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)

  • Paint particles

  • Cigarette smoke (and its toxic byproducts)

  • Pesticides

  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

  • PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)

  • Fabric fibers from your clothes, carpets, upholstery, etc.

  • Sand and soil particles

To help keep your home, and your home's air, at least partially free of insect parts and chemicals, dust your home often.

What's the optimum choice for dusting? The PerfectClean line of mops, dusters, towels and more, which are used by leading hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Rather than just pushing dust around, or worse, stirring it up into the air, PerfectClean's EasyGrip Mop and Flexible Duster are made with positively-charged ultramicrofibers that pick up everything in their path -- including dust and all of its microscopic attachments.

These ultramicrofibers are so small at an astonishing 3 microns that they're even smaller than most bacteria (each cleaning cloth contains over 300 miles of actual cleaning surface!). They pick up contaminants either used dry or dampened with water -- no harsh cleaners needed (which means less chlorine gas released into your home's air).

Choosing PerfectClean's ultramicrofiber cloths, mops and wipes are by far the smartest choice -- and the most economical since each cloth can be used over 100 times before being replaced -- for dusting in your home.

Of course, it's impossible to remove EVERY particle from your air, and, as Brodie pointed out, you wouldn't want to. Simply using commonsense in regard to the toxins (pesticides, cleaning products, etc.) you release into your home, and dusting your home regularly to keep it clean, will go a long way toward keeping your and your family's indoor air safe and sound.

Recommended Reading

Groundbreaking New Study Finds Household Cleaners & Air Fresheners Can Pose Serious Health Risks

Exposure to Air Pollution Linked to Genetic Abnormalities

DISCOVER Magazine June 7, 2007

Air Info Now

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