According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the air inside our homes, schools, and offices is often two to five times more polluted than the outside air. We spend 90% of our time indoors. Children are naturally more susceptible to pollutants than adults because they take in more air relative to body size and because their developing organs and respiratory systems are more vulnerable to certain chemicals, particles, pathogens, and allergens.
As home and building designs continue to reduce the exchange of indoor and outdoor air with more energy-efficient structures, the concentrations of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), pathogens, odors, mold, and fungus spores tend to increase while the air ion concentrations, necessary for healthy lives, are significantly reduced. The truth about indoor air quality or IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) in Homes has become so prevalent that the associated side effects and illness have been classified as “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS).
SYMPTOMS OF SBS CAN INCLUDE
- Sore Throat
- Cold or Flu-Like Symptoms
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Dry itchy and tired eyes
- Issues with short term memory
- Dry Throat
- Rashes or Itches
- Blocked or running nose
- Coughs and/or sneezes
- Concentration Problems
There are a number of factors that can contribute to poor IAQ, including:
- Pollutants from outside the home: Outdoor pollutants, such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter, can enter the home through cracks and gaps in the building envelope, open windows, and doors.
- Pollutants from within the home: Common household pollutants include:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): VOCs are gases or vapors that are emitted from a variety of products, including paints, solvents, cleaning supplies, furniture, and electronics.
- Mold and mildew: Mold and mildew can grow in moist environments, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
- Pet dander and dust mites: Pet dander and dust mites are common allergens that can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.
There are a number of things that you can do to improve the IAQ in your home, including:
- Ventilate your home regularly: Open windows and doors to let fresh air in, and use fans to circulate the air.
- Use air purifiers: Air purifiers can help to remove pollutants from the air.
- Get rid of sources of VOCs: Remove or reduce your use of products that emit VOCs.
- Control moisture levels: Keep moisture levels in your home at a healthy level by using a dehumidifier in humid climates.
- Clean regularly: Regularly clean your home to remove dust, dirt, and other pollutants.
By taking steps to improve the IAQ in your home, you can help to protect your health and the health of your family.