Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is strongly connected to health and wellbeing. Humans tend to spend a large amount of time indoors. Breathable air that’s free of health threatening pollutants can lead to a higher quality of life, lower risk of respiratory illnesses, and a reduced risk of various chronic conditions. For health and protection, homes and public spaces can be equipped with the best air quality monitor for mold and other environmental pollutants.
Monitoring Air Quality
As with other environmental health risks, IAQ can be reliably monitored to assess the existing risk and improve the quality of the air. Monitoring equipment can be tuned to pick up signals of health threatening pollutants like volatile organic compounds that are invisible to the human eye.
Observable signs like musty odors, odors condensation or ceiling condensation can give hints about the IAQ in a certain area, though they cannot definitively show what the issue is. A connected monitor works to ensure air quality remains high for the safety of the building’s occupants.
Health Issues Associated with Air Pollution
Air quality is understood to have a direct and indirect impact on health. The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States cites air quality as an important factor for those with asthma, lung conditions, heart conditions, as well as young children and the elderly. In the UK, the National Health Service estimates that the medical costs associated with poor IAQ may be up to £20 billion annually, with 24,000 people dying prematurely each year.
Higher air quality is believed to help prevent the onset of some diseases, including asthma. Removal of health threatening pollutants can result in improved public health and environmental benefits.
Poor IAQ is associated with the following health problems:
Throat and Nasal Illnesses, Scratchy Throat
Complications for Lung and Heart Conditions
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Moderate to Severe Allergic Reactions (Mold, Mildew)
Skin illnesses scratchy
This list is not extensive and may not show the entire picture of potential health risks from poor air quality. Short-term exposure to poor air quality can result in illness and disease, while long-term exposure can lead to serious complications. Any exposure at all can be dangerous and may exasperate pre-existing conditions or create new health issues.
Common Environmental Pollutants
In homes, offices, and other public spaces there are many common pollutants. These include VOCs, second-hand smoke, radon, nitrogen dioxide, lead particles, asbestos or other building materials, mold, or mildew.
Pollutants can be organic or man-made. Household furnishings may hold mold and mildew, while non energy efficient appliances could create smoke and chemical pollutants in the home. In humid areas, mold and mildew are commonly found tucked away in attic or basements where the musty odors, condensation, and other sign are not as visible.
Second-hand smoke has a powerful negative impact on IAQ. The Environmental Protection Agency and similar organizations throughout the EU are working to prevent smoking in public spaces or in enclosed spaces around children because of the high risks to health and wellbeing. Energy efficient vehicles and public transit systems also reduce smoke and exhaust inhalation.
Public environmental factors are only one contributor to air quality. Offices, homes, businesses, schools, and other indoor areas are all at risk for negative effects from everyday products, building materials, and natural pollutants. VOCs, carbon compounds, and environmental pollutants are common in enclosed spaces.
Monitor your IAQ and learn how to improve air quality in your house to avoid health problems, discomfort, or serious complications in the future. Air quality is an important measure to understand and track for the sake of your health and those who live or visit the space you control. A smartphone air quality monitor or a built-in carbon monoxide and radon monitor can make a difference in your short-term and long-term health.
To learn more about air quality and health threatening conditions related to poor IAQ, read more on the long-term effects of volatile organic compounds, mold and mildew exposure, and carbon monoxide poisoning.