In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted that the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research shows that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health my be greater due to the exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.
In addition, people who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods of time are often those most susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution. Such groups include the young, the elderly, and the chronically ill, especially those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
While pollutant levels from individual sources may not pose a significant health risk by themselves, most homes have more than one source that contribute to indoor air pollution. There can be a serious risk form the cumulative effects of these sources.
What Causes Indoor Air Problems?
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations from pollutants.
Indoor Air and Your Health...
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person's exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.
The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and preexisting medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become sensitized to chemical pollutants as well.
Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a results of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place the symptoms occur.If you would like more information or to schedule your test, call 920-451-4646.