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Indoor Air Quality: What You Should Know
What is Indoor Air Pollution, and What are The Causes?
Air pollution indoors can be just as bad (if not worse) than outdoors. What makes indoor air so important is the fact that we are exposed to it more consistently and for longer periods of time; we also breathe it at a higher concentration.
Furthermore, the less-diluted and mostly-trapped air in enclosed “ecosystems” (your home/workplace), can host a whole array of pollutants equal in harmfulness to anything experienced in, say, polluted outdoor city air.
This is especially true if there is poor ventilation, if many different chemicals (e.g., cleaning & personal-care products) have been imported, if these places are well insulated, if pets are found, and if the heat and humidity factor is high.
Indoor Air Quality Facts
Other information directly attributable to poor indoor air quality (IAQ):
- Indoor air can be two to ten times more harmful than outdoor air
- It’s responsible for an 18% reduction in work productivity
- 20% of employees suffer from major illnesses tied to air pollution
- 6,000 new potentially-harmful chemicals are developed yearly; add these to the thousands already in use
- Harmful non-living indoor contaminants include: formaldehyde, tobacco smoke, grease, pollen, asbestos, dirt, lead, ammonia, pet dander, etc.
- Microorganisms in indoor air include: mildew, mold, viruses, bacteria, dust mites, etc.
Symptoms and Health Problems
The key thing to take away is that many of the pollutants inside our homes and workplaces are health-compromising, as illustrated by these facts:
- 50% of all illnesses are associated with or exacerbated by indoor air pollution (American College of Allergies)
- Well-insulated homes/workplaces can keep out naturally-air-cleansing negative ions and ozone
- A well-insulated building’s allergen count is 200% higher than poorly-insulated ones
- According to World Health Organization (WHO), 40% of all buildings pose serious health threats — including cancer, TB, Influenza, COPD, asthma, eye irritation, allergies, sick-building syndrome, etc.
- Most persons spend 80% to 90% of their time indoors — hence, most of the air they breathe is the “indoor” type
The fact that we spend most of our time indoors is reason enough to be concerned, if we also acknowledge that:
- Indoor air quality in most instances and places is unacceptably bad
- Air pollution is responsible for many medical problems
- There are practical, affordable ways to reduce, if not remove, this significant danger to our health