Air Quality's Effect on Your Health

While it isn’t a factor we often consider, the air quality inside your home and other buildings you regularly visit plays a large part in your respiratory health. Most people spend 90% of their day-to-day lives indoors where pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than outside. 

People who are more susceptible to the effects of poor air quality (infants, elderly, people with respiratory diseases) are typically more likely to stay indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air quality has been steadily decreasing in recent decades as indoor air pollutants are more concentrated inside buildings.

According to the EPA, common factors of concern are…

  • Combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and environmental tobacco smoke.
  • Substances of natural origin such as radon, pet dander, and mold.
  • Biological agents such as molds.
  • Pesticides, lead, and asbestos.
  • Ozone (from some air cleaners).
  • Various volatile organic compounds from a variety of products and materials.

Most pollutants affecting indoor air quality come from sources inside buildings, although some originate outdoors.

Health problems caused by indoor air pollutants include:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancer
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate pollutants in your home, there are certain steps you can take to lessen the amount in your home. Firstly, regularly switching out your home air filter every 1 to 3 months will greatly reduce the level of pollutants and allergens in your home. Preferably an air filter with a rating of MERV 8 to 13 is recommended to filter out unwanted particles. Other steps you can take are…

  • Use hair sprays and other sprays in well ventilated areas
  • Avoid smoking indoors
  • Clean and dust often
  • Test your home for radon
  • Use a carbon monoxide detector

Taking these simple steps will help to reduce the harmful effects of indoor air pollutants.