Shocking Facts About Indoor Air Quality
1. Indoor Air Quality is a Top 5 Health Risk
The United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air quality as a top five environmental risk to public health. EPA studies found indoor air pollutants were generally 2 to 5 times greater than outdoor pollution levels. In some cases, indoor air pollution was 100x greater. There are many reasons to why this is the case, including poor ventilation, the burning of toxic candles, use of air fresheners, chemical laden household cleaners, and more.
2. Air Fresheners are Poison
The NRDC determined most air fresheners contain phthalates, noxious chemicals known to disrupt hormone function in babies and children, interfere with reproductive development, and aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma. A recent study found the terpenes released by air fresheners interact with ozone to form compounds like formaldehyde and acetone at concentrations which can cause respiratory sensitivity and airflow limitation.
3. Inkjet Printers Release Fertility-Robbing Chemicals
Did you ever think your inkjet printer could be a source of air pollution? Printing inks, like those used in home printers, contain glymes. These industrial chemicals have been linked to developmental and reproductive damage. The EPA has expressed concern about their safety, especially in regards to repeat long-term exposure. It may be better to have your photos printed at the store.
4. The Air Quality in Schools is Among the Worst
Schools accommodate up to 4x more occupants, aka students, than a standard office building with the same amount of floor space. What makes this alarming is that children breathe more air relative to their body weight than adults. In closed spaces with a lot of huffing and puffing, many germs, allergens, and other nasties quickly spread. The EPA specifically identifies air quality in schools as a point of concern.
5. Indoor Air Contaminants Damage More than Respiratory Health
The range of indoor air pollutants includes VOCs, phthalates, PBDEs, mold, pollen, pet dander, radon, and more. Most of these qualify as fine or ultra-fine particulate matter that are easily inhaled and can pass into the bloodstream, and even cross the blood-brain barrier. Dry eyes, headaches, nasal congestion, fatigue, and even nausea are common symptoms. Serious problems such as asthma, lung infections, or even lung cancer have been linked to exposure. Particles which enter the bloodstream have been associated with stroke and depression in adults, and children have shown increased systemic inflammation, immune dysfunction, and neural distress.
6. Wood Smoke Slows Immune Response
There’s no denying that campfire is cozy and inviting but make it a special treat. Research shows that regular inhalation of wood smoke limits immune activity and function. While this is a greater concern for many individuals who depend on wood burning for cooking and heat, anyone who burns wood indoors should be aware of the potential health risks. Many of the particles in wood smoke collect and gather in dust long after the fire is extinguished. There may be no aroma as comforting as that of the home fire, but it’s one which should be enjoyed sparingly.