Indoor Air Quality
Wellness is in the Air
Indoor air quality (IAQ) deals with the content of interior air that could affect health and wellness of building occupants.
The IAQ may be compromised by microbial contaminants (such as mold
chemicals (such as carbon monoxide or
and other mass or energy stressors that can induce health effects.
Indoor air is often a greater health hazard than the corresponding outdoor air.
Ventilation to dilute contaminates, filtration, and source control are the primary methods for improving air quality in most buildings.
Some specific risks to our air quality can come from:
- Radon: an invisible radioactive atomic gas resulting from radioactive decay of forms of uranium. This is probably the most pervasive serious hazard for indoor air in the United States and Europe today.
includes all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multi-cellular filaments, called hypae.
- Carbon Monoxide:
a colorless odorless gas that is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.
- Legionellosis or Legionnaire's Disease:
a waterborne bacterium that grows best in slow moving or still water.
a fiber used in many building materials before 1975 such as floor tiles, ceiling tiles, taping muds, pipe wrap, mastics and other insulation materials.
- Carbon dioxide: emitted by humans and animals correlating with human metabolic activity.
Mold growing inside ductwork
There is a movement in the commercial and residential HVAC industry to pay more attention to the issue of indoor air quality (IAQ) throughout the design and construction stages of a buildings life.
A basic way of maintaining the health of indoor air is by the frequency of effective turnover of interior air by replacement with outside air through ventilation.
Air filters in HVAC systems can also trap some of the larger air pollutants and reduce the amount of dust that reaches the wet coils inhibiting mold growth on the coils and ducts.
Commercial buildings, and sometimes residential, are often kept under slightly-positive air pressure relative to the outdoors to reduce infiltration. Limiting infiltration helps with moisture management and humidity control.
Steps can be taken to help improve indoor air quality at home, the workplace, and in other indoor environments. Some of those steps include the following:
- Use natural household cleaning products and reduce exposure to potentially toxic airborne substances.
- Install an air purifier or an air purification system.
- Use humidifiers or dehumidifiers as needed.
- Introduce plants to reduce the levels of indoor air pollution and carbon dioxide
- Use natural pest control techniques indoors whenever possible
- Banish pesticides from your garden and lawn as well, as these toxins can easily be transported into the house on shoes, clothing, and by air.
- Keep your plumbing traps filled with water to help prevent sewer gas from entering the building.
- Regularly clean the vents in your kitchen, bathroom, dryer and HVAC unit.
- Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home and avoid areas where smoking takes place.
- Avoid or reduce biological contaminants by maintaining humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners; emptying water trays in dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and refrigerators frequently.
- Routinely clean bedding and items used by pets.
- Keep gas appliances properly serviced and inspected
- Never idle your car inside an attached garage
- Test your home for radon.
According to the National Safety Council, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, and 65 percent of that time at home.
Thus poor indoor air quality can have a significant impact on people's lives, especially those who are most vulnerable: infants and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.
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