10 Shocking Facts about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

The term ‘air pollution‘ likely conjures images of industrial smokestacks and billowing plumes rising into the atmosphere. While outdoor air quality (IAQ) has captured a lot of attention, the worst air quality you experience every day just might be in your living room. Trapped, stagnant air and poor ventilation combine to create a toxic cloud inside the home. Here's 10 facts everyone should know about indoor air pollutants and how to protect children, the elderly, and everyone else from the serious health dangers they cause.

Fact #1. IAQ is a Top 5 Health Risk

The United States EPA ranks indoor air quality (IAQ) as a top five environmental risk to public health. EPA studies found indoor air pollutants were generally 2 to 5 times greater than outdoor pollution levels. In some cases, indoor air pollution was 100x greater. [1] There are many reasons to why this is the case, including poor ventilation, the burning of toxic candles, use of air fresheners, beauty products, etc.

Fact #2. Your Furniture May be the Most Dangerous Culprit

Furniture purchased prior to 2006 contained toxic PBDEs, chemicals used as flame retardants. These flame retardants have the possibility of spewing toxins into the air. Even after 2006, flame retardants continue to be used. Chlorinated tris (a known carcinogen banned from children's pajamas in 1977) was reintroduced, and new flame retardant chemicals appear to create the same dangers. Inhalation has been noted as the primary route to exposure.

Fact #3. Air Fresheners are Poison

The NRDC determined most air fresheners contain phthalates, noxious chemicals known to disrupt hormone function in babies and children, interfere with reproductive development, and aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma. [2] A recent study found the terpenes released by air fresheners interact with ozone to form compounds like formaldehyde and acetone at concentrations which can cause respiratory sensitivity and airflow limitation. [3]

Fact #4. Candles are No Better than Air Fresheners

Most candles, especially the scented ones made with paraffin wax, contain the carcinogens benzene and toluene. Other hydrocarbons called alkanes and alkenes are often present. These last two are chemicals are found in cars and are often spewed through their tailpipes. If you purchase candles, choose soy- or beeswax-based varieties scented with only pure essential oils.

Fact #5. Inkjet Printers Release Fertility-Robbing Chemicals

Printing inks, like those used in home printers, contain glymes. These industrial chemicals have been linked to developmental and reproductive damage. The EPA has expressed concern about their safety, especially in regards to repeat long-term exposure. [4] It may be better to print your photos at the store.

Fact #6. School Air Quality is Some of the Worst

Schools accommodate up to 4x more occupants (students) than a regular office building with the same amount of floor space. What makes this alarming is that children often breathe more air relative to their body weight than adults. The EPA specifically identifies air quality in schools as a point …read more

Source: 10 Shocking Facts about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)