Indoor air quality is generally worse than most people believe. Poor indoor air quality can arise in any home or commercial building located in any geographical area.
Some Things to Consider:
- You may regularly come in contact with indoor air quality that is worse than that of outdoor air.
- You may be more susceptible to adverse health effects from indoor air pollution than others.
- You may not be able to see, taste, or smell evidence of problems related to poor indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality, often abbreviated as IAQ, is defined as the air quality inside and around occupiable structures, including single-family homes and commercial buildings, and it is interrelated to the health, safety, and comfort of building occupants. It is also referred to as indoor environmental quality and abbreviated as IEQ.
Poor indoor air quality is tied to the concentration of air pollutants, and there are thousands of sources of pollutants in any home or commercial building. Exposure to indoor air pollutants can lead to a variety of short- and long-term adverse health effects that may be experienced soon after exposure, or possibly years later. Individual people tolerate pollutants differently. Hence, some people can handle higher levels of exposure than others.
However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to achieve good IAQ. Understanding the fundamentals of IAQ and working with an IAC2 Certified Consultant will help you take immediate steps to achieve a healthy, safe, and comfortable indoor environment.
Biological and Chemical Indoor Air Pollutants
Many of the most common types of indoor air pollutants can be categorized as either biological or chemical in nature.
Biological pollutants are a living thing or were at least produced by one. The most common biological indoor pollutants include the following agents:
- molds and mildew;
- house dust mites;
- animal dander, saliva, and urine; and
- viruses and bacteria.
Contaminated HVAC systems may serve as a catalyst for biological indoor pollutants. It provides prime breeding conditions for mold, mildew, fungus, and other sources of biological indoor pollutants. Additionally, HVAC systems inevitably distribute pollutants through a property.
There are also chemical pollutants in indoor air. The most common chemical pollutants include the following agents:
- carbon monoxide
- environmental tobacco (ETS) or secondhand smoke;
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
- nitrogen dioxide;
- lead; and
Many indoor environments have several different types of pollutants present that contribute to overall poor indoor air quality. The relative importance of any single type of pollution depends on emission and exposure levels and how hazardous the particular pollutant is.
There are severe health risks associated with indoor air pollution, but there are steps that most people can take to pinpoint problems. It all starts with contacting an IAC2 Certified Consultant to discuss your particular concerns. IAC2 Certified Consultants are trained in the areas of indoor air quality and can help you preserve a healthy indoor environment.