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Indoor Air Pollution

About Indoor Air Pollution / Air Quality

In the last several years, scientific evidence has shown that air inside homes and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside in a big city. Since studies have shown that an average person spends almost 90% of their time indoors, it is important that you learn and take the proper actions needed to keep the best Indoor Air Quality possible. As a result of the indoor air pollution, the health risks for many people may be greater. Those who are exposed for the longest times are generally those most susceptible to the effects of the indoor air pollutants. These people include the young, elderly and chronically ill. Particularly those people who suffer from a respiratory or cardiovascular ailment.

Many of the newer homes today with weather-tight construction and not enough ventilation, have higher levels of unhealthy air than some older, draftier homes. It is easier to notice and describe bad air quality than to describe good air quality.


Here are a few examples/ signs of bad air quality:

  • Stale or stuffy air from poor ventilation
  • Persistent unpleasant smells
  • Nose, eye or throat irritation that is caused by the air
  • A humidity level below 30% or over 60%
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Mold
  • Dust Mites
  • Fumes from home chemicals
  • Fumes from redecorating. Such as new carpet, paint and other materials. Also asbestos and formaldehyde-containing building materials found in older buildings.
  • Problems with mold or mildew.
  • Too much dust/ allergens

There are other problems that are not as obvious as the ones listed above, and most of them can only be detected with scientific equipment:

  • Radon gas that occurs naturally
  • Combustible gases or smoke that contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants from indoor equipment and vehicles
  • Pesticides
  • Asbestos
  • Lead or other metal dust

Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of chronic respiratory ailments such as asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis which is an inflammation of the lungs caused by an allergic reaction or virus.

Good indoor air quality should not result in discomfort or problems with your health. Many factors in the indoor environment can affect you to differing degrees, and can also be caused by other factors than air contaminants. Like food, water, humidity, lighting, temperature, even poorly made chairs.


There are various signs or symptoms that you are suffering from Indoor Air Pollution, and people who already have respiratory ailments are at greater risk.

  • Runny nose and/or nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness, Confusion

Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks that are more frequent and severe. If the symptoms disappear when you leave the home for several hours, but reappear when you return, something in the air could be the cause. Common sources of poor indoor air include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Mold
  • Dust Mites
  • Fumes from home chemicals
  • Fumes from redecorating projects such as new carpet, paint and other materials. Also asbestos and formaldehyde-containing building materials found in older buildings.
  • Problems with mold or mildew
  • A humidity level below 30% or over 60%
  • Too much dust or allergens
  • Poor ventilation
  • Carbon monoxide

How do I prevent Indoor Air Pollution/ Bad Air Quality?

  • If you smell an odd or stale odor, investigate.
  • Keep a record of all cleaning chemicals used in the building and avoid ones with strong odors. 
  • Keep the dust levels low. 
  • Keep up on building maintenance and fix the things that break. 
  • Keep temperatures and humidity's at comfortable levels. 
  • Be sure that filters are changed regularly, according to the instructions and that vents and ducts are clean and in good working order. 
  • If mold and mildew are present, find the source of the leak and remove and replace any porous materials like carpets, sheet rock and insulation that have been wet, and clean the remaining areas with a bleach solution of 1-3%. 
  • Keep your chemical useage to a minimum, use them only according to their instructions, and store chemicals you must use in an area that is well ventilated. 

Will Air Cleaners help?

Yes, they will help greatly! There are many sizes and types of air cleaners on the market today. They range from inexpensive table-top models to expensive and sophisticated house systems. Some are very effective at removing particles, while others are less effective. Generally air cleaners are not designed to remove gas pollutants. However, how effective an air cleaner is depends on how well it traps the pollutants from the indoor air, which is expressed as a percentage efficiency rate, and how much air it draws through its cleaning or filtering unit, which is expressed as cubic feet per minute. If the air cleaner has an efficient collector, but has a low air circulation rate, it will not be effective. And high air circulation with a less efficient collector will not work either.


 

 
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