The air quality within and around your home, school, or workplace has a huge impact on your health. For most people, indoor space provides safety from outdoor pollution. However, research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that pollution levels are much higher indoors than outdoors.
Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the critical role indoor air quality plays on their health and wellbeing. EPA lists indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.
Now that most people spend over 90% of their time indoors, indoor air quality (IAQ) becomes even more significant. Whenever you’re indoors, you are exposed to multiple pollutants and these could have short-term and long-term effects on your health.
These pollutants include carbon monoxide, asbestos, radon, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde. These pollutants can originate from building materials, soil, radon gas, indoor cooking, aerosols, microbial pollution, cleaning products, and other sources.
This post looks at some ways that poor indoor air quality can affect your health.
1. Allergic Diseases
Allergens in indoor air are a big problem, especially in households with children or in schools. Allergic asthma and extrinsic allergic alveolitis are two of the serious health problems that arise due to poor indoor air quality.
Some common allergens that might be in your house include dust, pollen, dust mites, and dog or cat dander to mention a few examples. Your family will struggle with allergic reactions and other respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, skin and eye irritation, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction which can result from allergens exposure.
When the allergens in the air are resolved, these conditions pass away. However, continued exposure can lead to permanent lung damage.
2. Risk of Cancer
Some of the more serious indoor pollutants, including radon and asbestos can cause lung cancer. For a long time, asbestos was one of the most popular building materials, and millions of people in the country still suffer exposure in older houses or buildings.
Workplaces and schools are among the main areas where asbestos exposure has been found to cause cancer. Continued radon exposure also increases the risk of lung cancer.
3. Skin Problems
Human skin is sensitive and requires nourishing at all times. In an enclosed space such as your home or office, you might not have great air circulation meaning your skin suffers exposure to multiple pollutants.
These can lead to dryness, wrinkles, premature aging, rashes, pigmentation and skin problems such as acne, hives, and eczema. When not diagnosed and treated early, skin conditions can become infected leading to permanent scarring and affect the self-esteem of an individual.
4. Cardiovascular effects
Poor indoor air quality can lead to heart problems due to damage to your blood vessels. This reduces blood flow leading to higher blood pressure and this directly affects the performance of your heart. Air pollution-associated cardiovascular effects develop over time and can become fatal.
5. Respiratory Health Issues
Multiple respiratory problems are associated with high levels of indoor air pollutants. You can experience difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and a host of other lung problems.
6. Overall Wellbeing
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has a huge impact on your mood and happiness levels. In the workplace, indoor air pollution affects productivity as employees complain of fatigue, headaches, and lack of concentration or motivation. The same problems affect students in a classroom environment.
High levels of indoor pollution also lead to increased stress levels, anxiety, and other mental problems. Improving indoor air quality with proper monitoring and ventilation can boost the health and wellbeing of a building’s occupants and increase overall performance and productivity.
Indoor air quality is a critical aspect of a healthy living or working space. If you have noticed an increase in illnesses among your family at home, workers at the office, or children in school, it is time to find a remedy to indoor pollution. Indoor pollution has multiple adverse effects on the health of a building’s occupants. For this reason, it is important to use the latest IAQ monitoring and tracking technology to know the state of your building’s indoor health environment.