Indoor air quality has become increasingly poor over recent decades. Of course, outdoor pollutants may migrate inside your home or business when doors or windows are opened. But, a less obvious way that indoor air pollution increases is due to modern construction, which is much more efficient in preventing air leaks. The greater insulative efficiency of modern buildings prevents common particulate pollutants, as well as emissions from synthetic interior building materials and from other common substances used indoors from dissipating very quickly. Here are some things you should know in order to better manage your indoor air quality.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
An EPA study indicates that air is more polluted indoors than outdoors. The problem is significantly worsened by particulate pollutants. Magnification reveals often extreme densities of a wide range of contaminants in unfiltered indoor air. There are many construction materials and common objects that emit fumes that can impact indoor air quality in insufficiently ventilated spaces. Other contributors to poor indoor air quality are particulate emitters. The various fumes and particulates can cumulatively mix with indoor air to form what some environmentalists call a chemical soup.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants
Just some of the contaminants that can affect the air quality in your home or workplace may include fume-emitting plastics, sealants, composite woods, finishes, adhesives, and carpets, and other modern construction materials. And, many household cleaning products, personal hygiene products, and craft products also emit fumes. Particulate pollutants can include pollen, dust mites, fungal matter such as spore chains, insect feces and insect body parts, human dander, pet dander, and viral contaminants.
Potential Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
Effective indoor air quality control is especially important for children, elderly occupants, people with compromised immune systems due to medical conditions, and people with respiratory sensitivity. And, anyone living with very poor indoor air quality can experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Sneezing, nose running
- Eye redness
- Irritated throat
- Lung irritation
- Allergic reactions
- Asthmatic episodes
- Skin rashes
- Cold-like or Flu-like symptoms
- Increased COPD symptoms
DIY Solutions to Poor Indoor Air Quality?
There are simple actions you can take to significantly reduce air pollutants in your home or business. Maintaining a routine that includes using all of these measures, as applicable to your particular indoor environment, can improve your indoor air quality.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter.
- Vacuum carpets frequently (2-3 times weekly).
- Remove cobwebs, including behind and under furniture, drapes, blinds, and appliances.
- Change HVAC air filter frequently.
- Have air ducts cleaned routinely.
- Use a portable air filtration unit.
- Replace HVAC system filter with HEPA filter
A Word About HEPA Air Filtration
HEPA-rated filters must capture 100% of air contaminants that are 0.3 microns in length, but they are proven to capture even smaller particulates. Check the level of filtering efficiency for the type of HEPA filter you choose— cartridge, pleated, throwaway, electrostatic, washable. HEPA filtering may be the best solution, if a member of your household or office team has a health condition that can be worsened by air pollutants, and if one or more of the follow indoor environmental conditions also exists:
- Comparatively high amounts of outdoor pollutants are affecting air inside
- Poor air-tightness (often in older buildings)
- An occupant smokes
- Frequent cooking is done inside the building
- Construction material types in the building are high fume emitters
- Multiple human occupants
- Multiple animal occupants
- Wood-burning fireplace
We are an environmental health testing and remediation company located in Broomfield Colorado. In the 1960s, RDS (formerly called MINCO) began performing radon testing for mines and uranium exploration operations. In the late 70’s, when high radon levels were discovered in residential buildings, RDS was the only company at that time providing residential radon testing. In 1986, RDS began providing radon inspection services nation-wide to corporate relocation clients.
RDS has an in-depth training program for educating field specialists. We work closely with multiple governing organizations, including EPA, AARST, ACAC HUD and IAQA. We are BBB accredited and diligently maintain our A+ rating. We are fully insured for our clients’ protection. RDS is a AARST/NRPP certified radon testing laboratory and out technicians are all NRPP certified for testing and/or mitigation. Today, our range of services has expanded to include:
- Radon Testing
- Radon Mitigation Installations
- Mold Testing
- Mold Remediation
- Lead Testing
- Asbestos Testing
For More Information
If you would like more information about air quality, or about testing provided by RDS, or if you are a homeowner or realtor in need of tests or inspections prior to a real estate transaction, contact RDS at (303) 444-5253. We have been helping home and business owners, corporations and government agencies test for environmental safety for more than 40 years.
Improperly maintained heating and ventilation systems are one of the leading causes of poor indoor air quality. By repairing broken units, fixing ductwork, and installing an air purifier, you may be able to improve your indoor air quality.