May is Asthma Awareness Month. With Americans spending up to 90% of their time indoors, indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Health effects from indoor air pollutants can be immediate or possibly be latent for years.
Primary sources of indoor air pollutants (more on each in later posts) include but are not limited to:
· Building materials and furnishings such as: deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation, newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
· Excess moisture – from flooding, unaddressed plumbing leaks, or high humidity leading to mold
· Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
· Paint (Volatile Organic Compounds and/or lead)
· Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
· Fuel-burning combustion appliances – stoves, heaters, fireplaces, chimneys
· Tobacco products – Secondhand smoke
· Outdoor sources such as: Radon, Pesticides or outdoor air pollutants
Good, bad or indifferent the modern home and office is sealed tight to ensure maximum efficiency of the HVAC system effectively keeping hot/cold out and hot/cold in. Unfortunately, the lack of ventilation also assists in the accumulation of air pollutants in the areas where we spend so much of our time. The most basic and simplest way to immediately improve your indoor air quality is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors (OPEN A WINDOW!).
Cassie Lee is an Account Manager and Business Development Professional with over a decade of experience in environmental consulting. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-983-1719 with any questions or for assistance on testing your indoor air quality.