According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the average American spends 90% of their time indoors.1 Indoor concentrations of some pollutants have increased in recent decades due to such factors as an increase in synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides and household cleaners.
Indoor air quality has for many years been linked to both short-term and long-term adverse health conditions. The air we breathe daily while in the work environment, at school or at home may be filled with common indoor air pollutants leading to health problems. One such example is “sick building syndrome” whereby an occupant experiences symptoms of illness upon entering a particular building, with such symptoms diminish or decrease after leaving the structure. 3
Our lungs are our filters that serve to catch and remove harmful particles that enter through the air we breathe every day. It is vitally important to ensure that the air we breathe indoors is not filled with pollutants that could cause short or long-term health issues.
Another area researchers have been investigating is the relationship between indoor air quality and student performance in the classroom and productivity in occupational settings. 4 In fact, studies in California and Madrid, Spain have shown that high levels of C02 have been linked to poorer mental concentration and more sick days. 5
The wide variety of health effects linked to indoor air pollution are significant and can
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
- Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.
- Hypersensitivity and allergies.
Indoor air pollutants commonly found:
- Tobacco, wood and coal heating-including fireplaces — can release harmful combustion byproducts such as Carbon Monoxide (CO2) and particulate matter.
- Paints, cleaning supplies, insecticides and other commonly used products introduce many different chemicals including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), directly into indoor air.
- Building materials, whether through degrading materials (e.g. asbestos) or from new materials (e.g. off-gassing from pressed wood products). Other naturally occurring indoor air pollutants include radon, mold and pet dander.
According to the Global Burden of Disease study 1.6 million people died prematurely in 2017 as a result of indoor air pollution. To put this in context: this was four times the number of homicides—close to 400,000 in 2017! 6
Affordable state-of-the-art equipment with cutting-edge technology from companies such as IAQuality can help remove these harmful toxins from the air and create a safer and cleaner indoor air environment. Newly designed sensors can show air quality and communicate with air scrubbers and filtration devices to remove harmful pollutants and inactivate harmful pathogens. Approaches utilizing mobile air scrubbing units incorporating strategically placed and controlled needlepoint bi-polar ionization units will help deliver cleaner air.
The time to address this growing concern is now. The systems available to mitigate toxic air are simple and effective. Our lives are as precious as the air we breathe and the environments we find ourselves working in are toxic. Make the move to improve your indoor air quality and the health of others around you.
There is no better time to address indoor air quality than now!
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official website. July 16, 2018 citing 1989 Report to Congress on indoor air quality: Volume 2. EPA/400/1-89/001C. Washington, DC.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official website. July 16, 2018 citing the total exposure assessment methodology (TEAM) study: Summary and analysis. EPA/600/6-87/002a. Washington, DC.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official website. July 16, 2018
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2003. Indoor air quality and student performance. EPA/402/K-03/006. Washington, DC.
- Mendell, M.J. et al. Indoor Air 23, 515-528 (2013)
- Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2013) – “Indoor Air Pollution”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/indoor-air-pollution’ [Online Resource].