What is indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality, or IAQ, refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, with a focus on how it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Whether you live in an apartment, townhome or single family home, an old home or newly built home, understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns that may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
“Most people spend 90% of their time indoors”
– Canadian Lung Association
Reasonable estimates are that visible particles, particles that scatter a sunbeam’s light, amount to only 1% of all particles in the air – nearly 99% of all airborne particles are to small to be seen with the naked eye. For this reason, air sampling techniques and laboratory analysis are used to provide information on the presence and concentration of microscopic particulate.
The primary cause of indoor air quality problems are indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. There are many sources of indoor pollution and the relative importance of any particular source depends on how much a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are.
Some sources, such as construction materials, home furnishings/ﬁnishes and products like air fresheners, can release pollutants continuously. Other sources, such as smoking, cleaning, renovations or doing hobbies release pollutants intermittently. Pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after some activities. There are three (3) main types of air pollutants: biological, chemical and radiological.
Though further research is needed, the United States Environmental Protection Agency stresses the importance of trying to improve the IAQ in your home, even if symptoms are not noticeable, because pollutants, commonly found in indoor air, can cause harmful eﬀects.
As a member of the Indoor Air Quality Association, you can trust our team of indoor air quality experts to help assess and address the IAQ in your home, business or cottage. Contact one our professionals today to discuss your concerns and arrange for an indoor air quality consultation!