Indoor Air Quality and Your Health
Posted in Asbestos, on March 08, 2019
The indoor air quality of your home is a key part of you and your family’s overall health, because indoor air quality health effects can be wide ranging and have a long-term cumulative effect. Indoor air quality isn’t always easy to spot the way that a burst pipe or a broken refrigerator is - unlike those household appliances, there’s no switch you flip only to find out your indoor air quality is broken. In the busyness of modern life, it’s often easier to think that smell is coming from the neighbours or the headaches you experience are from your stressful job. But indoor air quality plays a key role in our long-term health, and as we spend up to 90% of our lives indoors, having good indoor air quality is important.
At SafeAir, our focus is on providing clean, safe indoor air quality through specialized comprehensive testing and inspection. Our focus on air quality analysis means that we are able to spot problem areas that could be causing indoor air quality health effects, and offer our clients a comprehensive range of services to help ensure their home environment is safe.
What is Indoor Air Quality and Why is it Important?
Knowing what indoor air quality is and why it’s important is the first step to having a healthier, safer home. Indoor air quality refers to the condition of the air inside of and around the building, especially as it relates to the comfort and health of the occupants within. Indoor air quality health effects appear when parts of the systems that support a high level of indoor air quality are faulty or broken. Some of these systems include your Heating, Ventilation and Cooling systems (HVAC), fans, HEPA filters, windows, doors, and moisture barriers. Indoor air quality is more than just clean smelling air, it’s also about keeping allergens and pollutants out, while constantly refreshing and renewing the air within. When indoor air quality health effects appear, it can be the first symptom of a larger problem within your home.
What are Indoor Air Quality Health Effects?
Poor indoor air quality can affect your health in a number of ways, and research has shown that certain toxins or chemicals can build up in people’s systems and cause trouble years down the road. Children, elders, or people who suffer from chronic illness or weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to poor indoor air quality which can worsen symptoms or complicate existing illnesses. While the symptoms of poor indoor air quality health effects are broad, there are a number of them that can be mistaken for other illnesses such as colds, influenza, or allergies. They are:
- itchy, watery eyes
The key sign that your trouble may be with indoor air quality health effects is that they often completely disappear as soon as you leave the room or building.
The Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality health effects can be experienced at any time, by any person. But when indoor air quality is a problem in your own home, these effects can become serious. Air pollution can affect asthma, COPD, or allergies, but also heart conditions like angia; it can even be a contributing factor to heart attacks or strokes. Air pollution from some pollutants like asbestos or bacteria like legionella (which causes Legionnaires’ disease) can be fatal. Some indoor air quality health effects may show up after one exposure, while others take repeated exposure to cause symptoms, which often makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.
Common Indoor Air Quality Pollutants
Indoor air quality health effects are caused by a number of different pollutants, allergens, fungi, and bacterias. At SafeAir, our indoor air quality testing service can help you identify which pollutants are affecting your health and where they are concentrated in your home. During our tests and inspections, we commonly find some of the following contaminants in residential and commercial properties:
- Mold: Found worldwide, mold is an important type of fungus. But when it grows indoors, toxic strains can proliferate and cause serious indoor air quality health effects that can make people seriously ill. Mold is often found after a water leak or flood, and can destroy construction materials and objects as well as cause health trouble. Mold is often not visible to the naked eye, but it has a recognizably musty smell and it’s important to have it promptly -and professionally- removed.
- Volatile Organic Compounds: These small chemical compounds are common in many household items like wood, perfumes, paint, cleaners, glues, and solvents. They may be stable as a liquid or solid, but when exposed to air, they rapidly become gaseous and can become problematic for your indoor air quality.
- Carbon Monoxide: This odourless, invisible gas is produced by appliances that use fossil fuels, such as your furnace or gas stove. Carbon monoxide can build up in your home and it prevents your body from using oxygen efficiently - resulting in tiredness, dizziness and headaches. If the concentration is high enough, you can die. While plug-in and battery powered testers are available, SafeAir recommends having your heating and cooling systems checked by a professional yearly, and ensure appliances are correctly vented.
Check your Indoor Air Quality with SafeAir
The health of you and your family members is an important factor in the enjoyment of your home. Improving upon your indoor air quality is easy - there are a number of home fixes and small changes you can make to improve your indoor environment. The best way to know what you need to do is to have a professional assess your home and offer suggestions for improvements. Our experience in the indoor air quality field means that we are able to confidently identify most of the factors that are the cause of indoor air quality health effects. Our highly trained technicians use state of the art technology to take samples, readings and particle counts, as well as use thermal imaging to find hidden sources of mold. SafeAir’s complete report post-assessment will outline any air quality issues we find and offer detailed recommendations to improve them.
If you have any concerns about your indoor air quality, please give us a call at 416-414-5690, and one of our staff would be happy to tell you more about our services.