Often, we assume that being indoors means we are protected from harsh elements or other irritants that may interfere with our comfort, or worse, our health.
Poor indoor air quality can be caused by a variety of factors that, decease if unchecked, can lead to headaches, sinus problems, infections, lung disease, and lung cancer. In fact, shockingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the air inside buildings might be five times more polluted than air outdoors. Below are a few poor indoor air quality culprits:
It isn’t uncommon for bacteria, view mold, and other types of fungi to settle indoors. If your house contains areas that are prone to moisture or the accumulation of water and condensation, these may serve as prime locations for unhealthy cultures to grow. Once molds have become present, allergenic spores can be released into the air, which can then be ingested. In addition, dust mites or pet dander can settle in carpet or furniture, inducing asthma attacks or allergy symptoms.
By this point in history, there have been enough studies conducted that show the negative effects smoking has on the human body. Secondhand tobacco smoke is a leading cause of poor indoor air quality, and cigarettes contain shocking amounts of chemicals that poison our bodies.
According to the American Lung Association, in U.S. nonsmokers, “every year it causes an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths and up to 50,000 heart disease deaths. In children, especially infants, it is responsible for pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, and ear infections. It causes asthma to develop, causes asthma attacks, and makes attacks worse.”
Besides tobacco smoke, smoke from other forms of combustion—like fuel burning stoves, fireplaces, heaters and other devices that burn fuel—can also lead to poor indoor air quality from the release of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other harmful gases.
Building Materials & Artificial Compounds
While you might not think of it, certain cleaning compounds, adhesives, and solvents may be classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are released as gases from certain solids or liquids and have been stated to be up to 10 times more present indoors than outdoors.
Examples of potential causes of poor indoor air quality include:
• Paint and lacquers
• Certain types of glue
• Permanent markers
• Copiers and printers
At the end of the day, any home that has improper or poor ventilation can trap air inside, leading to unhealthy conditions. In any building where contaminants and irritants have no means of escape, they are bound to not only remain indoors, but be compounded and lead to potentially increasing health hazards.