INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
In today’s world, it’s not just the air we breathe outside on the city streets, but the air inside our homes and offices - places where we should feel safe and secure - that has become a life-threatening problem.
Air pollution affects everyone. We can’t hide from it. We are still surrounded by pollutants and toxins wherever we breathe, especially in our own homes!
WE SPEND 90% OF OUR TIME INDOORS
That is 90% of our time breathing recycled air. Recycling the air, especially in normal ventilation systems, means that dust, molds, bacteria, viruses, cigarette smoke, various chemicals and other toxins are building up, their amounts increasing as the air is reused! The level of air pollution inside the home can be 2, 5, up to 100 times worse than the air outdoors! With each breath we inhale from 40,000 to 75,000 dust particles.
One gram of dust contains 700 million different component particles, which together pose a huge threat to our health. Over the course of evolution our organisms have adapted to fight dust, but today, dust has a totally different structure and is far more harmful. Because of this, the EPA ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health.
HEALTH EFFECTS MAY BE EXPERIENCED YEARS AFTER EXPOSURE
- Have you ever had headaches or an irritated nose and throat that would not go away?
- Allergic skin reactions?
- Dizziness and fatigue, even after a good night’s sleep?
These symptoms can be easily ignored or explained away. Over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin or cold medicine, hide and mask them, keeping us from looking for their cause. Other symptoms:
- Persistent cough, conjunctival irritation, headache
- Fatigue, dizziness, allergic skin reaction, weakness
- Asthma onset, frequent upper respiratory infections
Exposure to solvents, cleaning agents, pesticides, and other volatile organic compounds can cause all of these symptoms, plus nausea, epistaxis, and dyspnea.
Heavy metals in the atmosphere, like lead and mercury vapour, can affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause muscle cramps and tremors, weakness, personality changes, hearing loss… the list goes on!
Biological pollutants, such as animal dander, molds and dust mites can also help spread diseases and infections. Plus they can be a cause of chest tightness, persistent cough, and rhinitis.
Stoves, space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces can also make us ill. Dizziness, headaches, eye irritation, and increased frequency of angina in persons with coronary heart disease, plus many of the other symptoms already mentioned, can be caused by these combustion sources.
DO YOU LIVE WITH A SMOKER?
Environmental tobacco smoke, or second-hand smoke, is just as harmful as smoking itself, if not more so, as smoking itself. Conjunctival irritation, wheezing, snoring, exacerbation of chronic respiratory conditions, heart disease, and cancer are some of the health risks due to second-hand smoke, especially for children.
SICK BUILDING SYNDROME
As technology increases and we build newer and fancier buildings - but with cheaper materials - a new form of illness has been documented.
High amounts of toxic substances are emitted by flooring, carpets, plastic necessary for their production, furniture, adhesives, paint, varnishes, modern construction materials, synthetic fabrics and many other sources. It is estimated that as many as 60% of the buildings in the United States are affected by Sick building syndrome, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s own building!
Sick Building Syndrome causes persistent coughs, irritation, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, allergic skin reactions weakness, asthma irritation, respiratory infections.
LOW QUALITY OF AIR IN THE OFFICE
As many as 20% of workers say their performance is hampered by the symptoms of this syndrome. One–fifth of the workforce cannot function at their full potential due to the low quality of indoor air!
Because of pollution, every ten years the number of asthma sufferers increases by 50%. Asthma accounts for 14.5 million lost work days and 14 million lost school days annually.