It’s Your Home, Not A Highway: Issues Caused by Poor Indoor Air Quality
According to a 2013 study by MIT, pollution causes 200,000 deaths yearly. The figures are stark, and we’re all aware of the risk of allergen-laden pollutants outdoors, often avoiding roads and employing facemasks to prevent conditions such as asthma flaring up. But did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, you can endure worse air quality at home with indoor pollution regularly 2 to 5 times that of the outdoors?
You might not ever have thought so, but a few specific factors can combine to make the air in your home a little…well, dirty. Asia Pacific Allergy demonstrated in 2013 the inextricable allergen-pollutant link, proving that keeping pollutants at home under control will almost certainly assist with your allergies, too.
Poor indoor air quality – or IAQ – has a few well established causes. The first you can probably guess – heating and ventilation affect IAQ. Specifically, poorly maintained systems can leak gas, which can cause serious issues in greater concentrations and have basic adverse effects otherwize.
Another cause of bad IAQ are building materials. Many people know about the risks of materials like asbestos and combination materials containing radon and formaldehyde. Again – more often than not, you won’t be at a direct risk of serious harm. But over years of use, these materials can seriously hinder the air quality in your home.
Aside from the stuff your house is made of working from, you need to keep a careful eye on moisture. Moisture causes mold and infestation, as dust mites adore the stuff and spores do too. Mold can trigger asthma attacks in those diagnosed with the illness, and for the rest of us cause a range of respiratory issues.
Typically younger and elderly people are often more susceptible to conditions caused by poor air quality. This is often because their immune systems aren’t necessarily working as well as the ages in between It’s estimated that 1 in 13 children already have asthma, creating the lead cause of school absenteeism. Especially in older people, any existing lung problems can be exacerbated by poor IAQ. Resultantly, it’s even more important that you get the balance right in houses with elderly or young people present.
Fear not, however, because good air quality is eminently attainable. A quick and easy way to start off is by using dehumidifiers. If you can maintain 30-50% humidity indoors you’ll inhibit the growth of mold and proliferation of dust mites. Simple ways to instantly start dehumidifying your house can be opening a window when you’re cooking, showering or running the dryer.
One cause of lingering poor air quality are candles. Whilst the smell can bring a freshness to your house, they can be damaging to long-term air quality depending on the materials used to create the thing in the first place. You may want to try out soy or beeswax candles – typically, they’re less likely to trigger allergies, too. Always make sure the wick is cotton or paper, too, as some candles like to utilize wicks made from dangerous heavy metals.
Perhaps an obvious one, but effective. If you have any containers of hazardous materials – paint cans, paint stripper, insectiside, and so on – make sure it’s stored away and secured properly. Regularly check the expiry dates and the integrity of the containers to make sure you don’t have a leak.
You’d be surprised how poor indoor air quality can be in your home. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to achieve fresh air, either. And, if you use these tips, you’ll most likely make your house hypoallergenic to boot.