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Indoor Air Quality Testing: What, Why and When

Indoor air quality testing

Why Test Indoor Air Quality?

People encounter environmental air pollutants every day and there is very little we can do to decrease the health risks involved. Although most of the blame for poor air quality goes to factories and other sources of carbon emissions, many people don’t consider the indoor air quality of their home and how their lifestyles may consist of unhealthy air pollutants. Growing scientific evidence is showing that air within homes can often be more polluted than air outside of homes, even in big industrialized cities and apartment blocks. In addition to this, people spend most of their time indoors these days; this is a fact which has urged researchers to study the air quality of homes and other buildings to determine the potential health impacts related to the source of the pollutants. Although indoor air pollutants vary from state to state, and even house to house, being aware of potential causes of pollution can lead you to improve your indoor air quality.

What causes indoor air pollution?
The biggest and most common source of indoor air pollution is combustion; gases, smoke and flames are present in a number of indoor activities. Gas stoves, indoor fireplaces, furnaces and tobacco smoke are responsible for releasing large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO), a pollutant, which kills about 500 people in the United States each year. Pesticides are another indoor air pollutant found in many American homes. Although the dust, dander and droppings from pests are, in fact, a pollutant, the pesticides many people use to eradicate this problem can also contribute to bad indoor air quality. Pesticides are toxic and can become dangerous when used indoors without ventilation. Mold and mildew are also common air pollutants, and so if you notice an odd, damp smell in your house it may be time to call for an indoor air quality test.

Why should I have an indoor air quality test?
Although most of the pollutants mentioned do not pose a significant health risk by themselves, and in small quantities, most households have more than one source which contributes to bad indoor air quality. In addition to this, the health effects of these pollutants may not become apparent until much later; some people develop illnesses years after living in a polluted household. An indoor air quality test can ensure that you are not putting you or your family at risk. If you are uncertain about your usage of pesticides and other sources on indoor air pollution, it may be a good idea to call a professional to measure the air quality of your homes and suggest ways of improving it if necessary.

When should I call for an indoor air quality test?
As mentioned above, some health problems may only show up years later; scheduling an indoor air quality test should be done by every home owner every few years. An indoor air quality test should also be conducted after any renovations or heavy pesticide treatment. It is during these times that air pollutants are used in excess, and an indoor air quality test will make sure that the ventilation in your home is effective. If you have just purchased or recently moved into a new house an indoor air quality test will make sure there are no hidden problems with the house, such as rats or other pests, and mold or mildew.