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Importance of Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air pollution is a growing public health emergency

Do you worry about what is in the air you and your loved ones are breathing ?

We take on average 30,000 breaths each day. We spend 80-90% of our time indoors. We cannot see what is in the air we are breathing yet we assume it is clean and safe. In fact indoor air is many times more polluted than outdoor air especially in towns and cities and around busy roads. Tightly sealed buildings and homes may be more energy efficient but can trap moisture, pollutants and microbes indoors causing odors, mould, allergies and other conditions. There is now substantial evidence linking poor indoor air quality to serious heart, respiratory and mental health conditions and even premature death.

Indoor air pollution will build up in any home or building with ineffective or inefficient ventilation. In the UK this is very common because a) most properties are built to dated minimum standards that rely on ineffective natural background ventilation and b) most properties are built or retrofitted with energy efficiency measures that seal up the property ie. double/triple glazing, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 26 million homes will need retrofit ventilation improvements from the strategies they were built to meet new indoor air quality / healthy homes requirements. This number may now be even higher given the UK Government’s recent announcement to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – up from 80%.

Indoor air pollution / poor ventilation problems include:

  • Moisture from activities such as cooking, washing and even breathing evident as condensation on cold surfaces but otherwise invisible. If your washing takes a long time to dry indoors you likely have a moisture retention problem in your home caused by poor/ineffective ventilation
  • Mould spores migrating from outdoors (worst during summer in the UK) and from indoor colonies. Musty odours in difficult to reach / concealed areas especially on external walls
  • Increased levels of airborne dust mite faecal matter. A well documented and deadly asthma trigger
  • Odours from cooking, people, clothing etc that persist and/or migrate around the property
  • Migration of outdoor pollution to indoors including:
    • Ozone bad during warm weather and after thunder storms
    • NOX from traffic is worst in large towns and cities and especially areas close to busy roads
    • Volatile Organic Compounds from industrial processes
    • Organic PM bad during summer (pollen, fungi, spores)
    • Inorganic PM from traffic engine emissions and industrial processes. Worst close to busy roads and factories
    • Radon from below ground (granite) which is a major cause of lung cancer
  • Indoor sources of pollution including:
    • Volatile Organic Compounds including carcinogenic formaldehyde from cleaning products, aerosols, carpets, furniture and indoor mould growth (MVOCs)
    • Organic PM. Bacteria and airborne allergens (spores, pet dander)
    • Inorganic PM from tobacco, open fireplaces and cooking
    • Deadly carbon monoxide from gas fires/cookers
    • Carbon dioxide in homes and offices causing drowsiness at low levels. Affects producitivity at work.

Headaches, skin irritations and fatigue can result from short term exposure. Serious respiratory illnesses and cancer can develop from long term exposure and we are only just starting to understand the full implications of poor IAQ. Children and the elderly are particularly prone to indoor air quality related illnesses.

Indoor air pollution is a real threat to all of us which requires effective measures in order to be managed properly. From improved ventilation delivering smart and effective filtration and dilution/displacement to advanced purification and monitoring,Better Indoors can help you understand what may be causing your problem or recommend suitable products and solutions. We can even help you see what is in the air you are breathing. Call us and take the first step toward cleaner, healthier air for you and your loved ones.