Indoor Air Quality

The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers’ comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.

Many factors affect IAQ. These factors include poor ventilation (lack of outside air), problems controlling temperature, high or low humidity, recent remodeling, and other activities in or near a building that can affect the fresh air coming into the building. Sometimes, specific contaminants like dust from construction or renovation, mold, cleaning supplies, pesticides, or other airborne chemicals (including small amounts of chemicals released as a gas over time) may cause poor IAQ.

The list below shows the top 11 facts and concerns for poor Indoor Air Quality.

  1. Indoor air quality is one of the EPA’s top five environmental risks to public health.
  2. Despite this, almost 25% of Americans do not show concern about the air quality in their homes.
  3. Common indoor air pollutants include dust mites, pollen, mold, radon, carbon monoxide, excessive carbon dioxide, and other chemical fumes.
  4. Pollution inside typically is two to five times worse than the air outdoors. Sometimes it can be 100 times worse.
  5. Secondhand smoke from tobacco projects are a major indoor air pollutant. It contains about 4,000 chemicals, including 200 known poisons.
  6. Secondhand smoke causes over 150,000 respiratory problems in infants and 38,000 deaths annually.
  7. 10% of Americans have never changed the filter on their heating and air conditioning unit.
  8. 75% of Americans live with someone who suffers from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory illnesses.
  9. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to asthma, headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue.
  10. One out of 15 American homes has a dangerously high radon level.  Radon naturally emits from the earth and enters the home through cracks in the foundation floor and walls, drains, and other openings. Indoor radon exposure is estimated to be the second leading cause of lung cancer.
  11. Only 27% of Americans have carbon monoxide detectors at home. Carbon monoxide is a gas that can stop coordination, worsen heart conditions, and at very high levels, can cause death.

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