Why Is Indoor Air Quality So Important?
The indoor air quality (IAQ) of a building is strongly connected to your health and well-being. Because so much of our time is spent indoors, we need to have breathable rooms that do not contain threating pollutants. Dangerous pollutants contribute to higher rates of respiratory illness or other chronic conditions.
Monitoring Air Quality
As with other environmental health risks, IAQ can be reliably monitored to assess the existing risk and improve the quality of the air. Monitoring equipment can be tuned to pick up signals of health threating pollutants such as votatile organic compounds, which are invisible to the human eye.
Observable signs like musty odors, odors condensation or ceiling condensation can give hints about the IAQ in a certain area, though you cannot definitively see what the issue is. A connected monitor works to ensure air quality remains high for the safety of the building’s occupants.
Health Issues Associated with Air Pollution
Air quality is understood to have a direct and indirect impact on health. The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States cites air quality as an important factor for those with asthma, lung conditions, heart conditions, as well as young children and the elderly. In the UK, the National Health Service estimates that the medical costs associated with poor IAQ may be up to £20 billion annually, with 24,000 people dying prematurely each year.
Higher air quality is believed to help prevent the onset of some diseases, including asthma. Removal of health threatening pollutants can result in improved public health and environmental benefits.
Poor IAQ is associated with the following health problems:
- Respiratory Illnesses
- Throat and Nasal Illnesses, Scratchy Throat
- Complications for Lung and Heart Conditions
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Moderate to Severe Allergic Reactions (Mold, Mildew)
- Asthma Complications
- Skin illnesses scratchy
This list is not extensive and may not show the entire picture of potential health risks from poor air quality. Short-term exposure to poor air quality can result in illness and disease, while long-term exposure can lead to serious complications. Any exposure at all can be dangerous and may exasperate pre-existing conditions or create new health issues.
Common Environmental Pollutants
In homes, offices, and other public spaces there are many common pollutants. These include VOCs, second-hand smoke, radon, nitrogen dioxide, lead particles, asbestos or other building materials, mold, or mildew.
Pollutants can be organic or man-made. Household furnishings may hold mold and mildew, while non energy efficient appliances could create smoke and chemical pollutants in the home. In humid areas, mold and mildew are commonly found tucked away in attic or basements where the musty odors, condensation, and other sign are not as visible.
Second-hand smoke has a powerful negative impact on IAQ. The Environmental Protection Agency and similar organizations throughout the EU are working to prevent smoking in public spaces or in enclosed spaces around children because of the high risks to health and well-being. Energy efficient vehicles and public transit systems also reduce smoke and exhaust inhalation.
Public environmental factors are only one contributor to air quality. Offices, homes, businesses, schools, and other indoor areas are all at risk for negative effects from everyday products, building materials, and natural pollutants. VOCs, carbon compounds, and environmental pollutants are common in enclosed spaces.
You May Be Eligible For A Free Indoor Air Quality Service