Indoor air quality has the same impact on health as outdoor air pollution but receives a lot less media attention than its outdoor counterpart. Indoor air quality is more than closing the windows, which can do more harm than good, depending on where you live.
Indoor air quality, as the name suggests, is the air inside. It can still contain the same particles as the air outside but in more concentrated doses. This occurs in any building such as homes, schools, offices and factories.
Airly measures local air quality. It can help you decide if it is safe to open your windows, or even set up sensors in your place of employment.
Different factors impact a building’s air quality. It stretches beyond ventilation. Obvious things are cooking and cleaning products as these can be smelt. Most people have banned smoking in their homes, but if in a smoker’s home, you can physically see the smoke circulating in the air and the nicotine stains on the wall. Then there is the damp, with some types of household moulds being toxic. Add to it that some people mask bad smells with air freshener and it is a recipe for bad quality indoor air.
The effects of breathing in bad quality outdoor air receives a lot of attention from the media, as do the effects of second hand smoke, but indoor air quality is rarely covered in the evening news. Exposure to bad quality indoor air carries the risk of pneumonia, COPD and even lung cancer. It can also increase the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Bad quality air can trigger asthma.
Bad quality indoor air has been linked to allergies and swollen sinuses, but unlike hay fever sufferers, relief can be hard to come by. Healthcare professionals are less likely to consider air contaminants in the home as the source of health problems, unless asbestos is a concern. That means the landlord is less likely to consider doing something meaningful about the patch of black mould.
Asbestos is one of the few things that does get attention on the evening news in terms of indoor air quality. It is deadly and it used to be widely used. It requires specialist removal due to how dangerous it is. Exposure to asbestos can cause non-malignant pleural disease, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma. It was used in insulation, flooring, and roofing and sprayed on walls and ceilings. If the materials remain intact, it poses little risk. Conditions related to asbestos exposure can take many years to turn up. For some people, this means, the source of their exposure cannot be located.
Air is invisible, yet all around us. It is essential to life. Bad quality air is deadly. Indoor air quality needs more attention. Most people are aware of second hand smoke and asbestos. They aren’t so aware that air fresheners and cleaning products negatively impact air quality.