Indoor Air Quality 101 – Part 2: Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution and Their Sources

Oct 21, 2020 | Uncategorized

So far in this four-part series, we have briefly illustrated the importance of Indoor Air Quality. We’ve talked about how this importance is compounded by the fact that Americans spend 90 percent of their time inside where the common misconception is that the air quality is better. Health officials say indoor air is actually two to five times more polluted than the air outside, even the biggest most industrialized U.S. cities.

Now, in Part 2, we mention some of the more prevalent sources of household and workplace air pollution in the U.S., and how they can harm your health and affect your well-being, brain function, energy levels and mood.

Although indoor air pollution isn’t something new (and it has actually improved in recent decades) the majority of homeowners still don’t realize how serious the issue is. Where it is most devastating is in low income homes. In poorer communities the risk level is greater than anywhere else, according to the World Health Organization

A List of Indoor Air Pollution Sources

The air pollution inside of homes and workplaces is considered an invisible adversary because, health experts report, it cannot be detected by the naked eye unless it is thick enough like smoke or dust clouds. This is because air pollution particles are microscopic. In a growing body of scientific research, experts list a wide range of different types of contaminants in our homes and places of work, which include the following:

  • Pesticides and other toxic chemicals 
  • Carbon monoxide, radon and other dangerous gases
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Asbestos and other waste from degraded insulation
  • Dust mite waste and other dust particles
  • Smoke from cigarettes, tobacco
  • Mold and mildew
  • Organic particles from humans, pets and animals such as pet dander, fur and dead skin
  • By-products of fuel-burning appliances
  • Smoke from wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and candles
  • Outdoor air pollution coming into a home or building
  • Construction materials and furnishings from home renovations and repairs
  • Products for household cleaning and maintenance
  • Aerosol and other waste from personal care products and hobbies
  • Grasses, grains and pollen
  • Food particles and fumes from cooking

How The Air Pollution In Our Homes Can Affect Us

These microscopic particles of air pollution often floating around in our homes and workplaces can get tracked inside with the in and out-flow of our pets, ourselves and people visiting. This is why it’s a good idea to have everyone take their shoes off. After making their way indoors and onto our rugs and carpets and other types of flooring, they can lodge themselves into our furniture. Under any number of circumstances, they can later become airborne and breathable. If your residence lacks functional air filtration and/or adequate ventilation, many of these airborne contaminants can lead to certain symptoms, and even health issues in some cases. Sometimes, they are already causing certain health issues and homeowners aren’t aware that they are the reason.

While some of these effects appear instantly, many of them do not do so until later. In some circumstances, health officials explain how it takes years for their effects to become obvious, which in some cases, might be too late.

The ways in which any air pollution lurking in your home or workplace affects your health is influenced by several factors. These factors include what your current health status is like and the types of pollution that might be present as well as their concentration. In any case, the benefits of ensuring your home has sufficient ventilation and competent air filtration can become priceless; in some of the cases of the more devastating variety, maintaining healthy indoor air quality can save lives.

Initial Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

When someone is exposed to indoor air pollution, symptoms can surface immediately. These initial, short-term effects are things like a sore throat or irritation in the throat and coughing and trouble breathing. Other signs include irritation or itchy eyes and irritation of the nose and nostrils. It can sometimes show up with irritation on the skin as well. It’s possible to develop feelings of being tired or having fatigue and/or experiencing dizziness and/or headaches. If you are struggling with any of these issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an indoor air quality problem. However, it is possible and it’s something that you might want to look into. Moreover, if you have asthma or allergy symptoms that either develop or become worse, this is another warning sign. 

The More Serious Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

On to the more serious implications of indoor air quality problems: These long-term health effects might take years to develop or materialize and they usually happen after constant or repeated exposures, but not always. After years of repeated or prolonged exposure to certain contaminants, if an indoor air pollution source is not identified and addressed the lasting health implications can be grave: These consequences are realized via respiratory diseases and/or heart disease. Such is why health officials are trying to raise awareness, because most of us are inside most of the time. In some cases, certain indoor air pollution sources can cause cancer and even result in death. 

Take Charge of Your Health and Well-Being and Promote Indoor Air Quality Today!

We at Springfield Heating & Cooling go to great lengths to ensure our customers are comfortable all year long. However, even more important than comfort is your health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of everyone in your home. Some of this information, which is from the EPA , might seem disturbing. We are only reporting it to try to increase awareness about the importance of Indoor Air Quality. The more you know, the more you can do to take charge of your home’s air quality. This starts with diagnosing and removing any and all sources of pollution floating around in your home. This starts with having the air in your home tested by a professional. If you are interested in a professional air quality test give us a call today at 937-350-1881, or click here to schedule an appointment now.

Indoor Air Quality 101: Part 1

Indoor Air Quality 101: Part 3

Indoor Air Quality 101: Part 4

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