How Indoor Air Quality Affects Us

When it comes to matters involving the quality of the air that we breathe, we often think of the pollution from the outdoors. In this case smog, ozone, or even haze that commonly hangs in the air during summer are often blamed for poor air quality. While there is some truth to it, there are also factors involving the air inside our homes that are harming our family members. In fact, the air inside a house or an office can be more polluted than the air present in the outside world. Indoor air quality can actually be severely affected by many aspects.

The air inside your home may be affected by the air flow from the ductworks or HVAC units. There is a risk of lead pollution from dusts, formaldehyde found in many parts of a building, radon, fire-retardants and also volatile chemicals usually used in the fragrances of conventional cleaners. Some of these pollutants can be tracked from within the confinements of a home. They can be traced to be from new mattresses or new furniture. Other sources may include carpet cleaners as well as a simple coat of paint of your walls. The indoor air quality can be easily affected by these things and you would not even realize it.

In that list of harmful substance for the air that we breathe, you can also find microscopic dust mites which are a major allergen, along with the growth of mold as well as pet dander. The last item may be hard to believe, but even if you do not have pets, it is not surprising to find these flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents and even birds in the ductworks of your house. This can specifically harm people allergic to them. Also known as a community allergen, indoor air quality can easily be affected since pet owners carry dander on their clothes and shed it in the course of the day.

While certain people are more sensitive to the cleanliness level of a home’s indoor air quality, not all effects are immediate. People with asthma, children as well as the elderly may be able to react towards air pollutants, but they cannot be relied on in detecting poor air quality. This is because the effects of these air pollutants to the occupants of a house may only appear years later, after significant exposure has been done. By then it would have been too late and the condition too severe.

Experts believe that indoor allergens and air pollutants have become more significant throughout the years since more people are spending more time indoors. Unlike traditional homes, modern homes are often airtight and completely sealed. This prevents irritants and pollutants from escaping a home and continues being sealed, where the occupants breathe them in. Compared to the olden days, we are all exposed to a greater and more significant degree of pollution than we were three or four decades ago. It is best for our health that we improve the indoor air quality in order to prevent illnesses and other health issues.


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