People spend 90% of their time indoors. Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside air. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has indoor air quality ranked as one of the top 5 environmental dangers. It is linked to severe asthma and allergy development in children and to heart problems and lung cancer in children and adults.
Symptoms depend on the particular contaminant and are sometimes mistaken for allergies, stress, colds or the flu.
Some of the symptoms of poor indoor air quality are:
- watery eyes
- upper respiratory congestion
- nasal congestion
- nose bleeds
- sore throat
Poor indoor air quality can contribute to the development of or exasperate these problems:
- lung cancer
- chronic lung diseases
- heart disease
- hearing loss
Indoor air quality is affected by anything that releases gas or particles.
The most common causes of poor indoor air quality are:
- Inadequate ventilation – contaminated air can’t get out, fresh air can’t get in
- Unmaintained heating and air conditioning systems
- Dampness due to floods, leaks or high humidity – creates mold and bacteria
- Occupant activities – cleaning, personal care, construction, smoking
- Combustion – burning of some form of fuel
- Old/outdated building materials – asbestos, wood treated with formaldehyde
What can I do to improve the air quality in my home?
- Use proper ventilation around fuel burning appliances like furnaces, fireplaces, ranges and heaters.
- Replace and maintain the air filters in your home.
- Control the moisture in your home – use a dehumidifier if necessary and clean your humidifiers and dehumidifiers regularly
- Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Use proper ventilation when cleaning, painting or using harsh chemical products in the home
- Test for Radon
- Don’t smoke inside!
- Keep your house clean – vacuum, wash bedding, use a HEPA vacuum cleaner, and leave shoes at the door.
- Leave asbestos to professionals!