As we go about our everyday lives, we find ourselves facing a wide range of risks. Whenever we breathe in the outside air of an urban area, for example, we are exposed to all the environmental pollutants that are just about everywhere in a city.
Air pollution, in general, is extremely hard to solve, as there seems to be no end in sight to what cars, factories, and other modern, man-made trappings dump on the environment. Outdoor air quality, especially in cities, will continue to be poor, and will likely get worse over time.
The air quality inside your home, however, is an entirely different story. Anyone can do something about indoor air quality, and it’s something that you should be mindful of for the following reasons:
Poor indoor air quality = poor health
As stated above, you’re already exposed to air pollution every single time you go out of your house. You wouldn’t want to have the same quality of air when you’re home, would you?
The American Heart Association and the American Lung Association have already linked heart problems and lung cancer respectively to poor air quality. Asthma, allergies, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness can be triggered by poor indoor air quality as well.
For these health reasons alone, you should actively take measures to ensure that the air quality in your home is better than the one you breathe when you go to work or school, shop, or travel.
Indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air
Many people might be shocked to learn that several scientific studies have found that the air inside your home is even more polluted than the air outside. There are even claims that indoor air could be a hundred times worse than the worst outside air.
The idea that indoor air could be worse than outdoor air isn’t that farfetched. After all, we use combustion appliances that burn fuel, which means your home is at risk of carbon monoxide contamination, among other things.
The products that we clean our homes with also contain chemicals that release certain odors. If there’s a smoker in the family, then the stink that tobacco products bring will undoubtedly affect how the entire place smells.
Even building materials or the carpets we use can impact indoor air quality. Then there’s mold, which could form inside our homes because of excess moisture or humidity.
By itself, an individual source of pollution in your home may not pose that much of a health risk to you and your family, but you have to realize that most houses get indoor air pollution from more than one source. The cumulative effects of these various sources of pollution ups the health risk significantly.
People spend 90% of their time indoors
Aggravating the effect of the worse condition of indoor air compared to outside air is the fact that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors.
That figure factors in the time we spend sleeping, eating, and going about our activities inside our homes, as well as the time we spend at an office, school, and any indoor areas outside our house. The more time we spend indoors, the more exposed we are to pollutants, allergens, and pathogens. Everyone in your household will be at risk, especially the young, the elderly, and the chronically-ill members of your family.
Tips for improving indoor air quality
As stated earlier, there are things we can do to enhance the quality of air inside our homes. Here are some of them:
Use houseplants – Aloe vera, peace lily, spider plant, Boston fern, and bamboo palm all have a reputation for effectively filtering air indoors. These plants are recommended by none other than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Let outside air in – While outside air may be polluted as well, it certainly is fresher and cleaner than indoor air, so open a window or a door and refresh the air inside your house.
Turn your home into a no-smoking zone – The thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke can singlehandedly pollute your entire house. For the sake of everyone in the household, you should put in place a smoking ban in all areas of your home.
No aerosols – Synthetic air fresheners do nothing but spray more chemicals into the air and worsen indoor air quality. This applies to hairspray and deodorants as well.
Dehumidify your home – Dust mites and mold thrive when there’s excess moisture. Keep moisture under control by running a dehumidifier inside your house. You can also reduce moisture levels at your home by fixing leaky roofs, ceilings, and plumbing.
Be green when you clean – When cleaning house, use only friendly and non-toxic cleaners and cleaning supplies.
Improving indoor air quality should always be a priority for us. After all, we spend a lot of time indoors, and we all deserve to breathe clean and fresh air inside our home.
About The Author
Michelle West is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air and Plumbing an AC repair company in sunny Arizona. Michelle enjoys writing about topics that help people all over the country make their homes more efficient and environmentally-friendly.