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Indoor Air Quality Overview

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  • air quality overviewThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed indoor air pollution among the top five environmental health risks that we currently face.

    There are a variety of ways we can attempt to tackle this growing health concern, but like most things in life, some measures are more effective than others. That is why it is important to know your options when it comes to improving your indoor air quality!

    Finding out all the facts on such a complex subject requires diligent research. Yet in our modern and fast-paced society, few of us have time to spend pouring over medical journals and researching the various elements involved in our indoor air quality. And unfortunately the marketplace is saturated with misinformation on this topic––filled with false claims and over-hyped products that have little to no effect on the overall health of our indoor air. There are plenty of untrustworthy and unproven, flash in the pan brands out there trying to capitalize on the uninformed. So taking shortcuts and gathering information from unreliable sources can really undermine your efforts. That is precisely why it is important to find well-respected sources of information that you can trust.

    There has been a surprising lack of media coverage on the subject of indoor air quality, with most of the media attention specifically addressing outdoor environmental concerns and air quality. While most of us are entirely aware of health and environmental issues such as smog, outdoor pollution, vehicle emissions, ozone depletion and even daily pollen counts, the general public has little knowledge of the adverse health effects our unventilated indoor spaces can cause.

    For instance, did you know that we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, yet the EPA warns that our indoor air is, on average, 2 to 5x more polluted than outdoor air?

     

    Indoor pollutants are comprised of airborne particles (also known as Particulate Matter) which is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in the air. Made up of a diverse array of components, particle pollution elements include dust, chemical fumes, gases, smoke and biological contaminants such as skin flakes, mold, dust mite and roach excrement, pollen, animal dander and various other sources. When these airborne particles are inhaled, they can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system––the extent and severity of damage is directly related to particle size, as well as length and degree of exposure.

    Moreover, large subsets of the population are predisposed to having hypersensitive reactions to lung and sinus irritants including airborne particles; for example, allergy sufferers, people with lung disease, asthma patients, weakened immune systems, and both the young and elderly. This means a significant portion of the population struggles with these relentless issues on a consistent basis. The World Health Organization conducted a study in 2007 that estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma alone, with 250,000 deaths annually attributed to the disease.

    Yet even with frequent and vigorous cleaning sessions in your home, these dangerous microscopic particles are still floating through the air, most of which are entirely undetectable to the human eye. So why are they here, and how do we fight all of these unwelcome particles that are systematically invading our space? We combine commonsense methods, strategy and modern technology.

    Beyond limiting the sources that cause air pollution in your home, the EPA strongly recommends consistently ventilating your house with clean air. Obviously, due to weather variances and changes in outdoor air quality indexes, the best way to ensure year-round ventilation is through the use of a high-quality air purifier. It is important to select an air purifier designed to manage the specific air quality concerns you need addressed in your home.