A REVIEW OF INDOOR AIR QUALITY ISSUES
A brief summary of the more prevalent sources of Indoor Air Pollution sources is presented below. Every building is different and if air quality issues become a health concern, recipe a professional should be contacted. The following primary sources of indoor air contaminants are reviewed:
Indoor Air Quality refers to the quality of air in an enclosed environment whether it be at the workplace or a residential home. A typical spectrum of the symptoms associated with poor indoor quality includes headaches, unusual fatigue, varying degrees of itching/burning eyes, skin irritation, nasal congestion, dry or irritated throat, and nausea. Various sources or emissions and the kinetics of air flow within an establishment are two of the most pertinent variables that affect indoor air quality. Air pollutants that are found within a building can include both natural and anthropogenic materials. Some natural factors that cause problems are molds, dust, radon, spores, pollens and microorganisms. Anthropogenic materials include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, pesticides and cleaning agents , carbon monoxide and dioxide, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, acid gases and aerosols, cigarette smoke.
Once inside the building, these pollutants move throughout the air based upon the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system (HVAC). The quality of air movement largely indicates the amount of exposure to individuals within the facility. A well maintained and operating HVAC system can improve the quality of air whereas a problematic system will greatly worsen indoor air quality within a building. Pressurization, dehumidification, and filtration of a building are other conditions that can help or hurt indoor air quality.
Homes and offices today are in higher danger of indoor pollution than those built 30 or 40 years ago. This is due to the fact that recently built homes and businesses are more energy efficient, but by conserving energy we no longer allow an outside exchange of air which helps to dilute pollutants within an establishment. Without an exchange of air, chemicals build-up year after year within a house or building making the quality of air dangerous to individuals.
The Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals put together by the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides remedial action and information based on current scientific and technical understanding of the issues.
For additional Information, the following resources are useful: