Recently, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has received increasing attention from the world health organization (WHO), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency`(EPA), UNICEF, and environmental governments for improving air quality, health, and well-being. It has been estimated that about 90% of people spend most of their time indoors, such as in homes, gyms, schools, workplaces, vehicles, etc.; thus, IAQ significantly impacts health and quality of life in general.

For many people, the health risks from exposure to indoor air quality may be greater than those related to outdoor pollution. However poor indoor air quality can be harmful to vulnerable groups such as children, young adults, the elderly, or those suffering from chronic respiratory, asthma, or cardiovascular diseases.

Indoor air pollution is a mix of outdoor pollutants generally associated with vehicular traffic and industrial activities, which can enter through natural and mechanical ventilation systems, as well as indoor contaminants, which originate inside the building, it can from combustion sources (such as burning fuels, coal, and wood; tobacco products; and candles), emissions from building materials and furnishings, central heating and cooling systems, humidification devices, moisture processes, electronic equipment, products for household cleaning, pets, and the behavior of building occupants (i.e., smoking, painting, etc.).

Indoor air quality can be affected by various chemicals, such as gases (i.e., carbon monoxide, ozone, radon), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), organic and inorganic contaminants, and biological particles such as bacteria, fungi, and pollen.

People experience a wide range of health effects from being exposed to poor indoor air quality and these effects can be broken down into short-term effects and long-term effects.

Health effects associated with short-term indoor air quality include:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
  • pneumonia or bronchitis

Health effects associated with long-term indoor air quality include:

  • heart disease, lung cancer
  • respiratory diseases such as emphysema
  • Damage to the brain, kidneys, liver, reproductive system, and other organs

The long-term effects can last for years or an entire lifetime and can even lead to death. This is why all need to be cautious of the quality of air around them.

The United State Environmental Protection Agency EPA has said that in dealing with indoor air pollution, there are three major approaches:

  • Source control
  • Proper ventilation systems
  • The use of portable air cleansing solution.

Application of all these approaches will aid in making our environment safe and pollution free leading to a healthier environment.

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