What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is often used to measure the quality of air that we experience in our daily lives at home, work, school, or anywhere indoors. IAQ takes into account the various pollutants we inhale, humidity, airflow, temperature, and many other factors to determine health and quality of life. We spend up to 90% of our time indoors which is why indoor air quality is important. Indoor air quality is entirely different than outdoor pollutants and comes with many complications that are preventable. Common indoor air pollutants include secondhand smoke, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, mold, cleaning supplies, and much more. Indoor Air Quality is a common problem that can be easily improved when taking the right precautions.
What is the cause of poor Indoor Air Quality?
There are several factors that can indicate poor indoor air quality. The most common reason for poor indoor air quality is poor ventilation. Small spaces with no ventilation or poor ventilation can be a major risk for chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Poor upkeep of implemented systems (ventilation, AC systems, heating systems) can also be a source of poor indoor air quality. IAQ can be difficult to monitor because often there is no visual signs that there is poor air quality. This makes it difficult to pinpoint the problem and hard to know if there’s a problem at all. Certain activities can also cause detrimental health effects such as cleaning with certain chemicals, cooking with gas, smoking, candles/incense, construction, remodeling, etc. Lastly, dampness, humidity, and water leaks could cause certain problems when taking air quality into account. A damp or wet setting is the perfect location for fungus or mold to appear which is a major problem for health due to the inhalation of harmful particles.
What are the health effects of poor Indoor Air Quality?
The problems that arise for poor air quality can result in physical or mental health problems that may have lasting effects. Immediate signs of poor indoor air quality may result in irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Long-term exposure of poor Indoor Air Quality has been shown to cause more serious health issues such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. This is why it is important to get your air checked and monitored to ensure that there is little to no risk when it comes to breathing indoor air.
I think I may be at risk of poor Indoor Air Quality, what should I do?
If you are concerned about the quality of air in your workspace or residential space, it is advised to have your air quality assessed. Professionals will conduct thorough monitoring and provide a fully detailed report of gas levels, humidity, and suggestions on what to do next. The most common solutions are to implement electronic air purifiers and a dehumidifier to ensure comfort and good quality in the air you breathe. Other solutions may include opening a window on good air days and using plants as a natural way to filter air and elevate mood. Be mindful when it comes to what products you use and what chemicals they contain.