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  • Why are Indoor Air Quality Standards So Important?

Why are Indoor Air Quality Standards So Important?

Feb 18 2015 Read 3430 Times

A recent study by the American Environmental Protection Agency found that through their home lives and work, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. A further study by the same organisation found a direct correlation between high levels of air pollution and decreased life expectancy.

Although we might think that air pollution is at an all time high, the results of a lengthy study actually show the opposite to be true. Throughout the years 2000 to 2007, the amount of micrograms of pollutant particulates per cubic meter of air dropped significantly. Throughout the time of the study, the average quantity (which was extensively studied over a total of 545 counties throughout the United States) dropped by an average of 1.56m.

During this time, there was also a recorded rise in the average life expectancy of 0.84 years.

Of course, this was not the only factor which could have contributed towards the rise in life expectancy but it certainly gives food for thought when considering the factors in human health, especially with advances in knowledge of physiology and external elements which may be detrimental to lung function.

Why we need clean air

We’re all aware that the air we breathe in is essential for sustaining our lives. We breathe in oxygen which is then used to carry the red blood cells around our bodies.

We also know, from extensive research that the more pollutants exist in the oxygen we breathe in, the less productive our lungs and circulatory system are able to be. This is why external factors such as smoking are so dangerous for blood flow and artery health. Therefore, it is essential that we do as much as is possible to filter out the toxins in the air prior to breathing.

In the outdoors, factors such as exhaust fumes, gases and toxins from factories, smoke and allergens could cause issues with breathing but when we are inside, the situation is different.

Internal air cleanliness 

Air pollution is often assumed as an urban and ambient issue. However exposure to various pollutants can be far greater indoors. This is particularly important in many Asian countries due to the use of solid fuels as a domestic energy source. You can read an in-depth look at this topic in this article: Indoor Air Quality in Asian Countries.

You probably don't use solid fuels in your homes, but there are a number of potential toxins which have the capability to significantly pollute the air we breathe. These could include asbestos, dust, carbon monoxide, dust mites, mould and spores, paint and fumes from other chemicals and cigarette smoke. It stands to reason that if we know that these factors, among others, are likely to cause problems for breathing and lung function, we should take any and all measures to eradicate them.

In our homes, making changes such as introducing air cleansers, banning smoking and the use of chemicals, using masks where possible when decorating or cleaning and ensuring that any furnace or boiler in the home is working efficiently so as not to allow the escape of gases means a good start to healthy lung function. In addition, calling upon schools and businesses to adopt healthy air policies and being transparent in these policies means that the good steps we take at home aren’t wasted. 

Image Source: Cooking indoors

Reader comments

Thiru K

Feb 25 2015

INDOOR AIR has lost its quality. Our lives are up to 80% indoors. Children, stay home mothers and many more are literally 100% indoor people. What are we breathing within our bedrooms, home, offices and within our vehicles or in public places. We get away with "DUST" as the answer. We are firstly, breathing stale air. Modern architecture has sealled us within premises and done away with ventilation, an essential for air flowand air exchange. Within these man made trappings, we breathe air stale of oxygen content. Secondly the amount of air borne particulates invisible to the eye, toxins and chemicals off floor cleaning agents, gases and chemical fumes off the unlimited number of aerosols used indoors, evaporating gases off furniture fire retardant chemicals, glue, varnish and polish, ill kept air purifiers, air conditioners and vacuum cleaners with their not cleaned / changed filters and bags ideal for bacterial breeding and more.Truly, we have stopped breathing AIR. We breathe pollutes and allergens. Created to teach is page which is about the neeed to keep indoor air ventilated and preferably water washed. Water washed indoor air is a parallel to the outdoor air that gets water washed by mother nature with its mists, dew and rain. This is why outdoor air is cleaner than the indoor air

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