Indoor Air Quality

Most of the exposure we get to environmental pollutants occurs by breathing the air indoors. These pollutants come from the products and materials that we use every day. The air in our homes, schools and offices can be 2 to 5 times more polluted, and in some cases 100 times more polluted, than outdoor air.?Indoor Air Quality should be a significant concern to you, because when the hours spent sleeping at home, working in offices or spending time at school are calculated, people generally spend the vast majority of their lives indoors where they are constantly exposed to indoor air pollutants. It is estimated that the average person receives 72 percent of their chemical exposure at home. This means that the very places that most people consider safest, actually exposes them to the greatest amount of some potentially hazardous pollutants.

For the most part, the buildings in which people spend the majority of their time are tightly sealed and insulated to keep out unconditioned outdoor air. What isn’t widely known is that most ventilation systems are designed to bring in very little outdoor air, but instead circulate the indoor air that has already been heated or cooled. While this is quite effective for reducing energy costs, it can have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

The quality of the indoor air inside homes is important not only for the homeowners’ comfort, but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality has been tied to negative health effects like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Some specific diseases have been linked to air contaminants in some indoor environments, asthma for example, where damp indoor environments exist. In addition, some exposure to elements such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.

Many factors affect Indoor Air Quality. These factors can include poor ventilation from a lack of outside air not getting in, problems with controlling the inside temperature, high or low humidity or recent remodelling and renovations. There are other activities in or near a building that can also affect the fresh air coming into the building. Specific contaminants like dust from construction or renovation, mold, cleaning supplies, pesticides, or other airborne chemicals (including small amounts of chemicals released as a gas over time) may cause poor Indoor Air Quality. Proper ventilation and building care can prevent and fix Indoor Air Quality problems