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Indoor air pollution can pose significant health risks, especially if we spend a great deal of our time indoors. &, according to recent studies, most of us are–up to 90 percent of our time is indoor time.
The amount of indoor air pollution present inside a building depends on the number of pollutant sources, the effectiveness of building ventilation, & environmental conditions.
Most indoor air pollution is caused by substances or devices that release gas or particles into the air. Some of these are obvious: oil, gas and kerosene release pollutants when stored improperly or when burned for heat or cooking. Home furnishings like carpet, insulation or wood furniture can contribute to indoor air pollution. Household cleaning products and personal care products are possible pollutant sources. Improperly adjusted or inadequately maintained heating and cooling systems can emit dangerous pollutants. Finally, some indoor air pollution results from the entry of elements from outside. Pollutants like radon and pesticides frequently enter from outside.
Ironically, a major factor in the amount of indoor air pollution is the “leakiness” of the building. If the building is tightly sealed to keep outdoor air outside and cooled or heated air inside, then pollutants may accumulate to dangerous levels. Newer buildings have been designed to minimize the exchange of air between inside and outside in order to heat or cool the inside air economically and efficiently. However, these tightly sealed buildings should provide a mechanical means of ventilation to counteract the buildup of indoor air pollution.
Finally, high temperatures and/or high humidity levels can increase indoor air pollution concentrations. Unfortunately, the kind of weather conditions that produce high heat and humidity also reduce the airflow in and out of buildings.