10 Reasons to Test for Indoor Air Quality
We’re going to be buttoning up our homes and offices shortly as the winter season approaches, so now is a great time to talk about quality testing of indoor air.
We all face different health risks in our lives; some of which are unavoidable. Some risks we can avoid simply by making informed choices. One particular risk you can avoid is indoor air pollution — since you are able to do something about it.
According to the National Safety Council, on average we spend around 90 percent of our time inside with 65 percent of that time being in our homes. This can lead to asthma, allergies or worse.
There are various irritations and health risks that can be caused by poor indoor air quality. Some can show up immediately and could include headaches, throat, eye and nose irritation, fatigue and dizziness. These are typically short-term and treatable.
Other more serious risks, however, can be more long-term and life-threatening such as cancer and brain damage. This is why it’s important to test for indoor air quality.
Reasons for Indoor Air Quality Testing
The top 10 reasons you should have your indoor air quality tested include:
- Susceptibility. People who are young, elderly, or suffer with a chronic illness (particularly cardiovascular and respiratory disease) are more susceptible to getting ill from poor air quality.
- Combustion. Particles and gases due to combustion lead to indoor air pollution.
- Mold and mildew. Fungi is a well-known indoor air polluter. Effects on health can vary depending on personal sensitivity and mold type. Studies link mold exposure indoors with the development of asthma in children.
- Pesticides. These are toxic and can present symptoms that range from nausea and headaches to increased risk of long-term brain damage and cancer.
- Volatile organic compounds. Short-term health problems like nausea and headaches can be caused by some VOC vapors. More serious long-term risks such as cancer and brain damage can occur as well.
- Dust, droppings and dander. Asthma and allergic reactions are often triggered by these contaminants and get worse with prolonged exposure.
- Radon. This odorless and colorless gas in the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, killing approximately 20,000 Americans each year.
- Asbestos. Inhaling this contaminant can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer and long-term lung scarring.
- Chemicals. You bring these in your home all the time. Things like polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), dioxin and Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) found in many interior elements and furniture as well as polyurethane found in mattresses can lead to health problems for us.
- Lack of Proper Ventilation. This contributes to the mold in our home and other microbial growth, particularly when it is damp outside (use of a whole house fan can help with this).
An intelligent preventative measure you can take is to get your indoor air quality tested. This can help determine if you have any indoor pollution, what type and how you can fix it. Costs for indoor air quality testing can vary, so it might be best to find a professional who can help you through the process. Test kits are available for indoor air quality testing and may be used to find common threats. However, it’s essential that you buy a test kit that is designed to test all possible contaminants.
Be sure your home has proper ventilation, and install a whole house fan if your home doesn’t have one already.