When you think about "air quality," the first thing that may come to mind is smog or some other outdoor air contaminant. Yet, many people don't consider the fact that we spend up to 90% of our time indoors! What about indoor air quality?
Indoor air is usually very different from outdoor air. Many homes and buildings of today don't "breathe" as well as earlier built homes, meaning sometimes, every teaspoon of air we breathe has been delivered through ducts by a heating or cooling system that may be contaminated with mold, bacteria or other contaminants. And in many homes, much of the "fresh" air can originate from a moldy or musty-smelling basement or crawl space.
If you filled a glass with tap water that was cloudy and green, you definitely wouldn't drink the water. Unfortunately, we can't "see" the irritants and contaminants that are in the air that we inhale, some of which include:
- Bacteria and mold spores
- Chemicals and particles from carpets
- Fibers from insulation
- Chemicals from furnishings, paints, adhesives, and cleaning products
- Pet dander and dust mites
- Rodent and insect allergens
These particles can accumulate in our indoor air and cause health effects such as eye and skin irritation, headaches, fatigue, and allergy and asthma symptoms.
In this blog, we will discuss the sources of indoor air quality problems, including mold, pests, pets, chemical emissions, heating and cooling equipment, and irritating or annoying smells. We hope to foster discussions about how people have been affected by conditions in their indoor environments and to offer advice to those who wish to improve their indoor air quality.