The air quality of our indoor environments affects our health and often contributes to structural degradation and building failures within our homes and office buidlings.
Consider the Facts
According to the American Lung Association of Minnesota, elements within our workplace have been increasingly recognized as threats to our respiratory health. The most common pollutants are radon, combustion products, biologicals (molds, pet dust, pollen), volatile organic compounds, lead dust and asbestos.
There are an estimated 40 million individuals in the United States who are affected by allergies. Learning how to control a building environment to reduce allergen levels is important for managing allergies and asthma. Individuals who suffer from asthma, or have other respiratory illness may potentially be at a greater risk for health complications associated with poor air quality in their homes and workplace.
The prevalence rate of pediatric asthma has increased from 40.1 to 69.1,—a 72.3 percent increase. Asthma is the sixth ranking chronic condition in our nation and the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S.
In an office building, poor indoor air quality can result in structural rot within the walls and ceilings and around window framing from excess moisture.
Common pollutants can enter our buildings and offices through air leaks in the structure.
Common building problems or failures that occur in our offices include: musty odors and mold growth, window condensation, structural rot, peeling paint, back-drafting appliances, damp closets and ice dams, or build-up of ice on the roofs edge, and high utility costs.
Indoor allergens and pollutants hit their peak in the winter when buildings are sealed against the cold. it's important to clean regularly to reduce allergens and irritants. Dust with a damp cloth rather than a feather duster -- and don't forget hard-to-reach areas such as cold air returns, and heating vents.
To avoid potentially harmful vapors, use nontoxic, non-aerosol, unscented cleaning products that have third party certification Always use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for the best results.
Indoor allergens and irritants have become much more important in recent decades because we're spending more time indoors. And because modern buildings are airtight, these irritants can't easily escape. We're all exposed to a greater degree than we were three or four decades ago.
Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. In addition, it can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue. People who already have lung disease are at greater risk.