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Should You Be Worried About Indoor Air Quality?

Who should be worried about Indoor Air Quality?  The answer – everyone

Air Quality

Photo credit to
Steve Wilson under cc2.0

The requirements for new buildings to be draught free and air tight have resulted in designers and builders searching for ways and means to counteract the adverse effects of the buildup of contaminants in our houses.

Indoor air pollution can greatly increase severity of respiratory conditions, contribute to bodily irritations, sickness and disease.

The air inside our home can be up to 5 times more polluted than the outside air. The air tightness in new home creates an enclosed space that is an ideal breeding ground for air pollutants.

According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution causes 2.7 percent of the world’s disease burden. Considering that North Americans spend most of their lives indoors, it is crucial for homeowners to be able to recognize potential sources of indoor air pollution, understand the dangers posed by indoor pollution and learn how to fight the problem.

Basically, air pollution consists of:

  • Particulates, i.e. dust, dander, pollen and cigarette smoke.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (V.O.C’s).

How Does the Body React To Particulates?

Most health effects of indoor air pollution depend on the pollutants involved, the age of the affected individual, preexisting conditions, the level of exposure and individual sensitivity. While some problems caused by air pollution are obvious immediately, many others do not become apparent until days, weeks, months or years after the exposure.

Particulate indoor pollution can be comprised of:
Happy girl with no particles in the air

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroach allergens
  • Rodent wastes
  • Pet dander
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Molds
  • Mildew

Some common short-term effects of indoor air pollution include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Scratchy throat
  • Nasal irritation
  • Fatigue

How Does the Body React to VOCs?

These consist of gases from the chemical makeup of various household materials and liquids. For example, carpet and tile cements, wall paper, furniture and household cleaners, all add to the air pollution in the home.

Other common chemical pollutants include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Asbestos
  • Radon
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead

Health and comfort can be impaired, resulting in itchy watery eyes, sore throats, sneezing and runny noses to name a few. Even if you are not immediately affected, long term exposure may result in respiratory and health problems in the future.

Millions of airborne particulates and gases travel through our homes heating and cooling systems 4 -5 times every hour.

What can we do to limit our exposure to these pollutants?

media filtersThe installation of media filters; electronic air cleaners; hybrid media/electronic cleaners; HEPA filters; ultraviolet cleaners, all greatly enhance the indoor air quality in our homes and contribute to a healthy, germ free environment.           

If you’re interested in learning more about these systems, contact us now.

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