Health Damaging Indoor Air Pollution
In Your Business or Home
Most people know that outdoor pollution can
damage their health, but over the last several years studies have shown that the quality
of the indoor air pollution may be even worse than that of outdoors.
The recent trends have been for residences to
be sealed as tight as possible to conserve energy, thus trapping many pollutants in our
homes. This also leads to the increase in chemical exposure, in part due to more synthetic
materials and products, chemically formulated personal care products, pesticides and
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Environmental Protection Agency TEAM studies concluded the
- For many pollutants, levels inside are 2-5 times higher than
- In both rural and heavy-industrialized areas, personal
exposures and indoor concentrations exceed outdoor concentrations for essentially all of
the prevalent volatile organic compounds
- After some activities, indoor pollutant levels can be as
much as 1,000 times higher than outdoors
- In new non-residential buildings, levels of volatile organic
compounds can be as much as 100 times higher than outdoors
Since nearly 90% of an average person's time is spent
indoors, it is necessary that you become well educated and take the appropriate actions
necessary to maintain the best Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) possible.
Following are six simple steps you can do to help prevent
IAQ problems as recommended by the National Association of County & City Health
- Housekeeping - Maintain a written housekeeping checklist;
have workers document housekeeping that is completed; keep a record of all cleaning
supplies used in the building; and avoid using cleaning supplies with strong odors. Keep
the building/residence clean and dust levels low.
- Building Maintenance - Set a maintenance policy and stick to
it for either a residence or building; keep records of work done and any inspection,
repairs, etc. Retain all manuals, warranties, and other documents related to
building/residence systems. Keep the building/residence in good working order. If things
break, fix them.
- Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Maintenance
- Keep the temperature and humidity at comfortable levels. Make sure the HVAC system is
properly maintained. (i.e.; have qualified HVAC contractors maintenance the system
regularly; make sure adequate amounts of outside-air is entering the system; change
filters according to instructions; keep vents and ductwork clean and in good condition to
maintain proper control.) See Carbon Monoxide link at bottom of page.
- Mold and Mildew - If mold and mildew are present; most
importantly, find and remediate the sources of air pollution (i.e.; leak in wall, roof and
plumbing). Remove any porous materials (carpets, insulation, sheet rock) that have been
wet. Clean remaining smooth surface areas with a 1-3% bleach solution.
- Organic Contamination - Follow directions above for
minimizing mold and mildew. Use throw rugs as an alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting. If
using wall-to-wall carpeting ensure that carpets are kept clean.
- Chemicals - Minimize chemical use and
make sure that chemicals are used according to instructions. Do not mix chemicals. Take
measures to ensure chemicals are stored and disposed of properly. If you must use
chemicals, use them in a well ventilated area.