Q: Is indoor air pollution a real thing?
A: Yes, indoor air pollution is definitely a real thing. It all started with the 1973 Oil Crisis. Members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo. By the end of the embargo, the price of oil had risen nearly 400%. Because of this event, the government-mandated the building industry to build higher energy-efficient homes. Fast forward 47 years, the result is much more energy-efficient homes – but the side effect is a modern health problem that will not be resolved anytime soon. Even though they are trying to balance energy efficiency with circulating outside air into our homes, this does little to correct the problem. In a metropolitan area like ours, we are constantly introducing pollutants from vehicles, manufacturing, and more into our homes. Many studies including those by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found that indoor air pollution could be up to two to five times worse indoors than outside. That same airtight construction that makes for an energy efficient home also reduces ventilation, trapping indoor air pollutants inside your home which could be making you sick.
Q: Should I be concerned?
A: The average person spends about 90% of their time indoors. This should be a major concern when you consider that the EPA has recognized that poor indoor air pollution is a very real problem and ranked it among the top five environmental dangers facing the public. The amount of children and young adults with severe allergies and asthma continues to climb. This has been linked to increasingly poor indoor air quality. The American Heart Association has linked poor air quality to heart problems, while the American Lung Association lists it as a leading cause of lung cancer. Your air conditioner is part of the problem, because it’s dark, damp and hot, causing it to be an ideal place for mold, bacteria, and fungus to grow…the perfect petri dish for microbial growth.
Q: What can I do to improve the Indoor Air Quality in my home?
A: First, check your indoor air quality to see if there are any red flags. We have a survey on our website that can help with that.
Steps to help reduce indoor air pollution include:
• Ensure proper ventilation. The air inside may contain chemicals from a variety of sources including cleaners, hair sprays, cooking, nail polishes, etc.
• Don’t smoke in or near the home.
• Eliminate odors instead of covering them.
• Avoid using aerosolized sanitizing sprays, and Air Fresheners, as most contain compounds with carcinogens.
• Dust often and well and avoid using harsh chemicals to clean.
• Clean floors regularly. Use tile and wood flooring instead of carpet.
• Keep floor mats at every door, or better yet, take your shoes off before you walk inside.
• Keep your AC components and ducts clean.
• If you use scented candles, make sure the wick is lead-free.
• Most importantly, acquire an active purification system that will kill germs at its source.
Take our survey at www.airpurpros.com to see if your home is affected by indoor air pollution.