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How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Health?

indoor air quality

When it comes to health threats, we don’t always think of the air we breathe as being potentially harmful, unless there is an obvious sign of smoke or a bad odor up our nose. It’s easy to think of the air inside our own homes and offices as being harmless too, particularly as it is an environment under our control. Surprisingly, research indicates the opposite. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality is “one of the top five environmental risks to public health.”  

Most Common Air Pollutants Found In Homes

  • Mold and bacteria: Damp and dirt that aren’t dealt with are breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.

  • Smoke and cooking by-products: More is released from our food while cooking than the aromas that make our tummies grumble.

  • Chemicals and cleaning products: The same ingredients that are so good at removing grime are released as particles in the air during use. Those particles are not good for our health.

  • Dust mites: these feed on the dead skin cells we shed, and leave behind microscopic fecal matter and their own shedding.

  • Other organic matter: Animal fur is an indoor air pollutant as are skin flakes from shedding and grooming.

  • Building materials and products: these can release lead, asbestos, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and radon into the atmosphere. These inorganic pollutants can cause serious health issues.

Early Warning Signs of Indoor Pollution

If you’ve got symptoms of a cold or flu that persist, asthma, allergies or other illnesses that you just can’t seem to shake, these could be caused by indoor air pollution. Coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, upper respiratory conditions, dizziness, headaches and fatigue are all early warning signs that the air in your home or office may not be as healthy as you think it is.

If left unresolved, long-term exposure to indoor air pollution can cause these constant annoyances to develop into chronic conditions that will affect the quality of your life.

Long Term Effects of Living With Indoor Pollution

  • Depression

    Depression is a growing epidemic, the cause of which has long been attributed to genetics or life-events. Recently, research has shown a strong connection between long-term exposure to air pollution and the intensity of depressive symptoms. Living in a toxic environment and constantly breathing in the indoor air pollution causes the body to kick into an inflammatory response. This puts the body into a constant state of ‘fight or flight’. Our bodies are not designed to cope with a constant, high concentration of the hormones responsible for this state, which adds to the severity of depression.

  • Allergies and Asthma

    Allergy sufferers know when Spring comes around as the pollen in the air has them scrambling for tissues. When it comes to indoor air pollution though, the problem is no longer just seasonal. The same toxic conditions are locked up inside all year round, exacerbating allergic rhinitis and potentially leading to emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer. These conditions can also trigger serious asthma attacks.

  • Autoimmune Disease

    Autoimmune diseases occur when the body turns on itself, treating healthy tissue and organs as invaders. Pollutants are an environmental trigger that can bring out this response making indoor air pollution dangerous for those folks with an auto immune disease.

  • Cardio Vascular Disease

    Cardiovascular health is at risk in a polluted indoor area. Pollutants can cause arteries to calcify which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Studies have shown that air pollution may have a negative effect on diseases and mental health conditions. This includes Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia.

You Are What You Breathe

There’s an old saying ‘you are what you eat’. In the ecologically challenged times we live in, we could replace that with ‘you are what you breathe.’ Our Home Comfort Specialists at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric have extensive experience to help you choose and design a custom air filtration system that is best for your family’s needs. An investment into improving the quality of the air you breathe indoors, is an investment into the health of your family.