Why Air Quality Matters, Especially In Your Living Space

Seeing as roughly 90% of our modern lives is spent indoors between home, school, the workplace, and other sheltered activities, the quality of the air we breathe on a daily basis is a vital consideration for optimal health and well-being. Although many of us remain under the impression that keeping ourselves sheltered inside naturally protects us from pollutants and airborne hazards, the World Health Organization estimates that over 4 million individuals die each year as a result of substandard air quality indoors. This statistic alone should alert mindful homeowners and encourage them to make sure that their living environment is entirely safe and free from harm.

Now, to help you gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we've created a useful guide outlining some of the most prevalent reasons that lead to poor quality air in our homes, potential health risks, as well as what you can do to improve air quality effectively and durably.

Why is Air Quality Important?

Similar to the purity of the water we drink and the kinds of food we consume to sustain ourselves, the quality of the air we breathe is an essential determinant to leading a normal and healthy life. As a matter of fact, when we feed our bodies with clean and fresh air, this ensures that our organs and metabolic functions can all operate properly. On the other hand, prolonged exposure to tainted or polluted air, especially in the home, may have serious consequences and endanger our health–and that of our family–in a permanent way.

Ways to Improve Air Quality at Home

Making indoor air purer is within every homeowner's reach. Start by identifying poorly ventilated spots in your house, such as the basement or the attic; that's where air quality is likely to be the most compromised due to humidity. Thankfully, you can easily find a purification device that's perfect for your basement with some online research. We suggest you always take the time to consult comparative review guides with detailed specs and pros/cons for a successful purchase. Selecting a new dehumidifier doesn't have to be a chore!

It's also important to take action against the presence or development of mold, asbestos, radon, lead, and other pollutants, with the help of a qualified professional. Regularly cleaning air vents and extraction fans from accumulated dust and mold will also prevent poor indoor air quality. Finally, it's a good idea to conduct some research on the best house plants that act as natural air purifiers.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

There are countless pollutants that can negatively impact ambient air quality, particularly when found in high concentrations. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor spaces foster levels of air pollutants that are two to five times higher compared to outdoor pollution. Chemicals, gases, toxins, and allergens release particles that degrade the purity of the air from the kitchen to the basement. They can provoke anything from eye/nose/throat irritation, respiratory conditions, heart diseases, or even cause cancer. Likewise, inadequate ventilation, deteriorated insulation, excess moisture, and high humidity are also contributing factors. 

Here are some specific examples of common indoor air pollutants.

  • Secondhand Smoke — While smoking is dangerous and lethal enough as a practice, the smoke from cigarettes (which contains thousands of toxic chemicals) significantly alters air quality in closed quarters, moving freely from one room to another.
  • Asbestos — Asbestos used to be popular in home construction until it was banned in the United States because of its recognized high toxicity. Until today, many homes still show remnants of this substance in indoor coatings, paints, and building materials.
  • Radon — Radon is a dangerous gas pollutant that can penetrate houses through foundations, cracks, and improperly sealed openings. It has been identified as a leading cause of lung cancer, right after smoking.
  • Lead — Another harmful contaminant that can affect various bodily functions and systems. Although lead-based paints were banned in the late 1970s, some older homes still carry residues.
  • Combustion Sources — Without regular cleaning, fuel-burning appliances such as heaters, gas stoves, and fireplaces can release toxic gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide (both colorless and odorless), causing serious health damages.

All things considered, your home is a sanctuary where you should feel safe and comfortable. While many among us often underestimate the impact poor quality air can have on our bodies, particularly in indoor environments, ensuring that your living space has clean and breathable air throughout the seasons is imperative. It will go a long way in preventing serious medical conditions, keeping you and your loved ones in good health.

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