Indoor Air Quality and Health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines IAQ as the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants, and reports that indoor levels of many pollutants may be 25 to 100 times higher than outdoor levels. It is therefore important to understand and control common pollutants indoors to help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.

Short-term health effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Long-term health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, reduced lung function, and mortality (EPA, 2009).

Individual reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors including age and preexisting medical conditions. In some cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person.