Indoor Air Quality: Hazardous & Health Effects?


Indoor air quality is an increasing concern today. This is due to all the chemicals used in construction materials that make some products dangerous for many people, especially those who have respiratory problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is polluted as much as 5 times greater in the home as compared to outside the home.

Reasons for Poor Indoor Air

This is especially true in new and recently remodeled homes that have many of the newest synthetic technologies embedded in the construction and finished materials. For example, new carpets are made of synthetic fabrics that emit chemical fumes.

Another factor that causes concern with indoor air quality is the way new homes are constructed. They are designed and constructed to be as airtight as possible for energy efficiency. However, this keeps homes from breathing.

Homes need to breathe just like people. The air inside the home needs to be exchanged with outside air often to rid the home of air pollutants. If the air is not exchanged periodically the indoor air quality will decline. Pollutants have nowhere to go and remain in the home causing the indoor air quality to become unhealthy.

Health Problems

People spend 90% of their lives indoors. With all the advances in technology in home and business construction, the levels of respiratory illness in this country are on the rise. More people today are reporting:

  • Allergy symptoms
  • Respiratory problems
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Asthma problems
  • Indoor Air Pollutants

Pollutants that are common in homes today include:

  • Particles and particulate matter
  • Allergens that are lung and nasal irritants
  • Gases and chemicals from new carpets and other manufactured goods
  • Volatile organic compounds that are used as cleaning compounds for floors and bathrooms

Indoor Air Quality Solutions

The need to improve the indoor air quality during the winter and summer are especially important and requires constant attention. The easiest and cheapest thing to do is just open windows every chance you get to let in fresh air and let out the polluted air. During the winter we generally don’t like to open our windows because it is cold and in the summer it is hot. However, this is when the pollutants in your home build up the most, unlike the spring and fall when we tend to have our windows open a lot.

Another thing you can do is also very easy, however, there is some expense. You can purchase an air purifier that includes an ionizer, HEPA filter, Germicidal UV Lamp, and a charcoal carbon filter. Using all of these will help clear your home indoor air pollutants. These purifiers and filters remove pollutants from the indoor air, for example:

  • Ionization Purifiers – remove animal dander, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, viruses, and bacteria.
  • HEPA Filters – remove particles as small as 3 microns such as dust, pollen, mold spores, and dust mites.
  • Germicidal UV lamps – remove microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi (mold), and germs.
  • Charcoal Carbon Filters – remove odorous fumes, gaseous, and liquid contaminant specifically chemical fumes (paint, cleaners), gases (CO2, CO), cigarette smoke, and odors (pets, foods).

As you can see indoor air quality is a serious problem; however, there are solutions to correct the problem.