The importance of the air that we breathe each and every day is a major environmental concern that many people are taking into their own hands, as this topic has gained worldwide attention particularly the large environmental problem of indoor air pollution. According to Our World in Data, indoor air pollution is in fact one of the world’s largest environmental issues based on data published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) that found 2.6 million people died prematurely in 2016 from illnesses attributable to household air pollution. When it comes to the indoor environment of a home or other personal indoor environment, the staggering list of pollutants that can accumulate within the space over time is alarming and something that should be mitigated quickly and swiftly in these environments.
Indoor air pollution has been shown to not only impact the indoor environment’s air quality levels, but it has also been proven to adversely affect human health in various ways, depending on several factors and environmental conditions within the indoor space of exposure to these pollutants. There have been numerous studies performed that have shown the correlation of airborne pollutants with certain household activities and items such as cooking emissions, cleaning agents, furniture chemical emissions, and even allergens released from household pets.
In this article we are going to discuss the hidden truth behind the impact of indoor air pollution on indoor environments and discuss the best indoor air quality solutions to implement into both residential and commercial indoor environments.
What is Indoor Air Pollution
What is indoor air pollution? Indoor air pollution refers to the air quality found within and around an indoor structure or building, and specifically on its correlation to the health and comfort of those individuals/occupants exposed to these environments for long periods of time. Some of the most common indoor air pollutants that can be found in most homes can include combustion gases produced from fuel-burning, tobacco products, building materials, furniture, household cleaning agents, air handling systems, excess moisture, and outdoor air intake that contains pollution. One of the leading causes of elevated levels of indoor air pollutants in an indoor environment is due to inadequate ventilation and decreased airflow within the space, which ultimately allows for an accumulation of these contaminants inside of the environment.
Air pollution is often attributed with outdoor environments, as many of us relate this issue with these environments and not so much our indoor environments. However, after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published their findings on indoor air quality and pollution levels, the focus of air pollution has made a sharp turn to indoor environment levels which may be at even more staggering heights than we knew. According to the EPA’s studies on human exposure to air pollutants they found that indoor levels of pollutants were two to five times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels. This environmental issue has become a major concern due to the large amounts of time that many people spend indoors, an estimated 90 percent of the time – which can develop into significant exposure levels over time.
Importance of Indoor Air Quality
The consumption of good, clean, quality indoor air is critical for human health, and since many Americans spend the vast majority of their time within indoor environments this places an extra emphasis on the importance of indoor air quality. Indoor air quality can become compromised by a wide variety of sources and pollutants, whether it be gaseous compounds, chemicals, allergens, or other pollutants that are emitted into the air – all of which can contribute to elevated levels of pollutants. In addition, when an individual is exposed to poor or bad air quality levels in their home a bout of health symptoms will begin to form and vary including respiratory problems, exacerbation of preexisting health conditions, and other adverse health risks.
Bad Air Quality Symptoms
Bad air quality exposure in a home or building can lead to the contributing development of health symptoms, some significant while others acute in severity. Often times the overall severity of indoor air quality symptoms will be dependent on the environment, the total number of airborne pollutants in this environment, and the amount of exposure to these pollutants. However, the common symptoms that an individual will experience from bad air quality exposure includes the following;
- Dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
- Shortness of breath
- Hypersensitivity and allergies
- Sinus congestion
- Coughing and sneezing
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Sources of indoor air pollution can come from a multitude of culprits in a home, some surprising culprits that you would have no idea are contributing to poor indoor air quality in the environment. When it comes to the main causes of air pollution that you will find in a home, they will include the following;
- Mold: Mold and the spores that this fungus produces into the indoor environment are known pollutants that will compromise any environment. In addition to producing fine particulate matter into the air in the form of reproductive spores, mold also releases allergenic pollutants and chemical VOCs into the airspace.
- Tobacco Smoke: Tobacco smoke contains known carcinogens in the environment, with nearly 7,000 substances found in this smoke. These different chemicals utilized in tobacco smoke will fill the air and leave a lasting impression on the IAQ in a home.
- Chemical Cleaning Agents: Many household cleaning supplies and household products can contain various chemicals within their construction including VOCs that will lead to health effects after exposure. These chemicals will become suspended into the air and settle on surfaces in the environment, which will ultimately lead to higher levels of pollutants in the airspace.
- Environmental Conditions: There are certain conditions inside of an indoor environment that can contribute to the overall inflation of air pollutants in the air space – including inadequate ventilation and lack of air flow. Ventilation inside of a home or commercial building will help to carry out contaminated air and replace it with fresh outdoor air, however, when this environmental condition is not present it will eventually lead to the over-abundant collection of air pollutants in the environment. In addition, when you are dealing with a lack of ventilation conversely you will also be stuck dealing with a lack of air flow, two conditions that can exacerbate air pollution levels in an indoor environment.
How to Measure Air Quality at Home
Have you ever considered measuring the air pollutant level in your home or other indoor environments? Indoor air quality is significantly altered by the number of pollutants that are found to be present in your home, and in most cases this number is ambiguous to many homeowners. The ability to monitor and track air pollutant levels in your home can be a great determinant to figure out different potential sources of pollution in your home and ultimately to help you minimize these pollution levels within your indoor air space. However, when it comes time to selecting the best indoor air quality monitor, there are many different options to consider, and each of which will have certain capabilities when it comes to measuring specific types of pollutants in the air.
The Airthings Wave is the first battery-operated smart IAQ monitor with Radon detection, including sensors for temperature, air pressure, humidity, TVOCs, and CO2. Airthings believes that measuring your indoor air quality (IAQ) is one of the most important steps we can take in preventing illness and increasing productivity, energy and good health, therefore they created their wide product offering of air quality monitoring devices. The Airthings Wave comes equipped with 6 sensors including the 3 most serious indoor air pollutants, as well as a detailed view of temperature, air pressure, humidity, and additional sensors for advanced analytics options.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions for Residential & Commercial Environments
If you are stuck dealing with or struggling with continuous air pollutant problems in your indoor environment, one of the best indoor air quality solutions is source control. Source control is the process of locating the source of the issue and integrating air filtration methods to combat the residual pollutants left behind after this source has been removed from the environment. Some of the most popular indoor air quality solutions is the use of air quality products like HVAC filters and air purification devices, both of which can be easily integrated into most indoor environments including residential and commercial spaces.
The EnviroKlenz® Air Quality Products are a proven-effective solution to remediating and restoring an indoor environment back to optimal conditions by capturing, containing, and neutralizing a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemical compounds and odors – in addition to fine particulate removal. The EnviroKlenz® proprietary earth mineral technology works through “adsorptive neutralization” as the pollutants come into contact with the technology they are captured, contained, and neutralized from the environment completely. EnviroKlenz offers both the EnviroKlenz HVAC Filter and the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier/ EnviroKlenz UV Air Purifier for an air quality solution(s) in indoor environments.
EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System
The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is your solution to remove VOCs from your home or office both safely and effectively. The unit is portable, and once the EnviroKlenz-Air® Cartridge (size 14”x14” included with purchase) is installed, it will begin to remove and neutralize chemical odors, allergy triggers, and malodors in the air.
✓ Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Safer and faster at removing VOCs than traditional carbon filters and PECO air purifiers
EnviroKlenz HVAC Filter
EnviroKlenz HVAC filter destroys noxious chemicals and odors rather than just trapping particulates like other HVAC filter and Hepa Filters. Carbon filters have been shown to be effective at capturing but not eliminating or destroying chemical odors and gasses compared to EnviroKlenz HVAC filter which neutralizes the odors and VOCs preventing them from returning to your indoor air space.
✓ Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level
✓ Removes VOCs, Malodors & Particulates
✓ Safe to use in any furnace and HVAC system
✓ Replaces your normal filter and good for 3-4 months of use