Indoor Air Quality
Have you ever considered the amount of time you spend indoors? According to the EPA the average American spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. That’s a lot of time! Given that we spent most of our time indoors, shouldn’t we be concern with the quality of the air we breathe most of our life?
The EPA estimates that indoor concentrations of some pollutants may be 2-5 times higher than outdoor concentrations. Unfortunately, those who are at higher risk to be affected by the health effects of indoor air pollution are children, seniors and individuals with existing health conditions, consequently increasing their vulnerability.
It’s important to consider Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) factors when designing our homes, as it may contribute to our health and comfort. Indoor air pollutants may have immediate or long-term effects on our health. Increase use of synthetic building materials, furniture, personal care and household products, pesticides, and inadequate ventilation contribute to poor indoor air quality. There are various ways and level at which pollutants affect indoor air quality. The concentration, duration and characteristics of the pollutant will determine the risk associated with the exposure. Pollutants may be of natural or anthropogenic origin, meaning that the pollutant may be natural occurring or a result of a manmade process or product. Pollutants may also be classified as biological or chemical as detailed in the graph below. Common biological pollutants include: microorganism such as viruses and bacteria, mold dust mites, pet dancer and pest. Common chemical indoor pollutants include: asbestos, radon, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde, lead, nitrogen dioxide, pesticides and other household products.