What Is Indoor Air Quality?

When most people think of air quality, they think of the outdoor air.  Most know of  the health effects poor outdoor air quality can have on a person, however, indoor air can also have significant health effects on people.  Indoor air quality, commonly referred to as IAQ, is the quality of air in your indoor environment.  Your indoor environment may be filled with thousands of pollutants that contribute to many ailments. In fact, several Environmental Protection Agency studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times (sometimes more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels.  This is even more alarming since the EPA estimates that people spend about 90% of their time indoors.  The growing health risks associated with polluted indoor air has prompted the EPA to list poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat to our country.  While the sources of pollution in our indoor air are numerous, it is not impossible to find and correct the sources of indoor pollutants.  An indoor air quality investigation can help you identify the type of pollutants that may be present in your home, which may be contributing to acute or chronic health ailments. 

What Is Good Indoor Air Quality?
Good indoor air quality is a healthy indoor environment where the surroundings contribute to productivity, comfort, a sense of well being and good health.  When the indoor air is free from significant levels of odors, dust, contaminants, and circulates to prevent stuffiness, but not so much that it creates drafts, the building is said to have good indoor air quality.  There are many benefits to good indoor air quality, the most obvious is the health of the building occupants. 

What Is Poor Indoor Air Quality?
An environment with poor indoor quality may be referred to as having sick building syndrome.  Sick building syndrome (SBS) describes a situation in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to the time spent in a building, yet no  illness or cause can be specifically identified.  The complaints can be localized in a particular room, or widespread throughout the home or building.  Poor indoor air quality can lead to increased health problems causing a reduced productivity due to discomfort or increased absenteeism from work, an accelerated deterioration of furnishings and equipment. It can also open potential liability problems between tenants and building owners. 

What Are Some Physical Symptoms of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Eye, Nose, Throat Irritation
Dizziness and Headaches
Impaired Vision and Coordination
Muscle Weakness
Allergic Reactions
Shortness of Breath
Chronic Respiratory Conditions
Increased Asthmatic Episodes
Digestive Problems
Many other unexplained Symptoms may be Indoor Air Quality related