Indoor Air Pollution
Friday, June 26, 2015
We don’t often think about the quality of the air inside our homes or buildings at work. It seems obvious that air pollution is something that happens outside.
Many people are surprised to learn that air pollution can be more of a concern indoors than out.
In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and buildings can be more polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.”20
Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors.21 The air inside most homes is an average of two to five times more polluted than the air outside its walls.22 “Thus, for many people, the risks to health from exposure to indoor air pollution may be greater than risks from outdoor pollution.”23
Indoor pollution is identified as one of the top five environmental risks for public health.22 Given this information, it’s easy to see why indoor air pollution is a cause of concern and something we should pay attention to.
Where does indoor air pollution come from? It is created when we use toxic chemical products like household cleaners and pesticides; it’s in home furnishings like carpets, foams, and composite wood products made from fume-emitting synthetic materials; it’s in poorly vented combustion appliances like gas ranges and furnaces; it’s in the fumes coming from garbage cans and indoor composting containers, to name a few.
Combine these sources with energy efficient home construction that dramatically limits the amount of fresh air exchanged between the inside and outside; air pollutant levels can quickly build to unhealthy levels.