The quality of indoor air where you live, such as school or work, has a direct impact on your health. Poor indoor air quality in the short term can cause headaches, fatigue, respiratory problems and trouble concentrating. Long-term exposure to indoor air pollutants such as asbestos and mold can cause serious illnesses, including respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer.
Today, people spend more time indoors than outdoors, so maintaining indoor air quality standards is crucial. Research has shown that air inside of homes and other buildings can be far more polluted than outdoor air in cities, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Often, the people most susceptible to indoor air contaminants, including the young, the elderly and the chronically ill (especially those suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular disease), are the ones spending the most time indoors, the EPA said.
Good indoor air quality standards take into account comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants, both in the building and around it, according to the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration. States have adopted statutes that address concerns about indoor air quality standards, especially dealing with workplaces and schools.
How Pollutants Impact Indoor Air Quality
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. Sources of pollutants include:
- Household cleaning products and solvents
- Poorly functioning heating sources
- Insulation made with asbestos
- Carpets, furniture, and rugs treated with chemicals
- Recent renovation/construction
- Outdoor sources, including pesticides and radon
- Second-hand smoke
- Excessive moisture
Red Flags That May Indicate Your Home or Place of Work Lacks Good Indoor Air Quality Standards:
- You suffer cold-like symptoms that improve when you’re not at home
- You notice condensation buildup around windows
- Your home has a musty smell
- You see water/moisture stains on your home’s walls and/or ceilings
While pollutant levels from one source may not pose a significant health risk, most homes have more than one source that contribute to indoor air pollution. There can be a serious risk from the cumulative effects.
Making Sure Indoor Air Quality Standards Are Safe
Certain contaminants are less easy to detect and testing of the air is recommended. If you are concerned about the air quality in your home, an easy, affordable and quick way to get certified lab results is to use one of our indoor air quality testing kits.
Once you know what you are dealing with, you can take action to remediate the problem by eliminating the contaminants and improving home ventilation. Remember, we all need clean air for our well-being – and ultimately our survival. If you have any questions, or would like to inquire about one of our indoor air quality testing kits, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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