One Remedy for Poor Indoor Air Quality

– Proper Ventilation –

Research indicates that the air in our buildings may be more polluted than the outdoor air, even in the larger, more industrialized cities. With many people spending as much as 90% of their time indoors, being familiar with the causes and sources of indoor air problems becomes crucial to those who are responsible for building maintenance. This is especially important if the occupants are the young, the elderly, the chronically ill, or suffer from respiratory or cardiovascular disease. If too little fresh air enters a building, compounds and pollutants will accumulate until they reach levels that can pose health issues.

 

Major causes of poor indoor air quality include:

  • Inadequate ventilation,
  • High humidity levels, and
  • An accumulations of gases or particles.

 

Compounds that release gases or particles include:

  • Oil, gas, kerosene, coal and wood
  • Tobacco products
  • Building materials
  • Furnishings
  • Damaged asbestos-containing material
  • Deteriorating lead-based paint
  • Wet or damp carpet
  • Pressed-wood products and furnishings
  • Personal care products
  • Household cleaning products
  • Dirty or damaged HVAC systems and related ductwork
  • Dirty or damaged humidifiers
  • Pesticides
  • Outdoor pollution

 

Proper ventilation increases the quality of the air that our building occupants breathe by diluting emissions from indoor and outdoor sources and by exhausting the pollutants out of the building. Regulating the temperature and humidity to proper levels also reduces the concentration of pollutants, particularly mold. To improve air quality, focus on source control and ventilation improvements, and consider adding air filtration systems.

 

For more information, visit our Indoor Environmental Quality page.

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