Top 5 Reasons Poor Health Can Result from Poor Air Quality

If you spend a significant portion of your time in the house or in an indoor work environment, you might be experiencing some health problems from the air you breathe every day.
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Nov. 7, 2012 - PRLog -- According to the World Health Organization, up to 60% of buildings are “sick” – that is, they contain pollutants that can cause a decline in its inhabitants’ health. Often, indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air quality. If you spend a significant portion of your time in the house or in an indoor work environment, you might be experiencing some health problems from the air you breathe every day.  

These are a few of the most prevalent indoor air pollutants – some of them are probably familiar, and some might be unexpected.

1.  Secondhand tobacco smoke has been the subject of much advertising and plenty of well-funded awareness campaigns (from the CDC, FDA, and others) over the past few decades. Although most workplaces in the U.S. are now smoke-free, smoke breaks near your workplace or home mean exposure to secondhand smoke for you. Secondhand tobacco can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; lung cancer; and may contribute to heart disease.

2.  Asbestos is a deadly mold found in deteriorated or damaged insulation, fireproofing, floor tiles, and noise-blocking materials – it’s between the walls. While most people don’t experience immediate symptoms from exposure to asbestos, there’s a significant long-term risk for chest and abdominal cancers and lung diseases. Smokers are at a higher risk for contracting lung diseases due to asbestos exposure.

3.  Here’s a curve ball for you: formaldehyde is found in pressed wood products, like hardwood plywood wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard, and one type of insulation. Formaldehyde is more likely to be present in significant levels in newer buildings and homes. Exposure can result in eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; a skin rash; weakness or fatigue; severe allergic reactions; and could cause some types of cancer.  

4.  If you work in a large office building, the building itself might be causing you some nasty (but not very specific) symptoms. These might include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; nausea; loss of coordination; or damage to your liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. The culprit? Organic gases released from building materials, carpet, office furniture, paint, adhesives, and copy machines. These gases are found in much higher levels indoors than outdoors—another reason to take a walk outside on your lunchbreak!

5.  Cleaning materials and methods used in your house or work building can also be pretty detrimental to your health overall. Air fresheners and pesticides often contain dangerous chemicals that sanitize surfaces but poison air. They can cause symptoms like eye, nose, and throat irritation; damage to the central nervous system and kidneys; and an increased risk of developing cancer.  

Yikes. So, How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Because you breathe indoor air for a significant portion, if not most or all, of your day, it’s important to make maintaining air quality a habit.

Clean regularly using natural, eco-friendly products (like apple cider vinegar and gentle soap). You’ll prevent dirt and pollutants from settling too much.

The most effective way to improve the quality of the air you breathe is to go to the source: remove harmful mold, fungi, and other materials, or shut off areas containing harmful materials.

Green up your work and living spaces with potted plants: they’re wonderful, living air purifiers, and they brighten up any indoor space.

Thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the info and tips!

Also ensure that you're indoor spaces are getting proper ventilation. To learn more about this, you can visit
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