The air you breathe indoors may be more hazardous to your health than you realize. Most people are quite familiar with smog and other pollutants outdoors, but not everyone is aware of the environmental culprits lurking in office buildings, warehouses, retail establishments, and homes. Some public and private indoor spaces contain so many pollutants that inhabitants develop serious illnesses such as respiratory disease or cancer.
Factors That Impact Quality of Indoor Air
There are several factors that influence the quality of indoor air. If human beings come into contact with environmental irritants over extended periods of time, they may suffer an array of health challenges. Some of the factors that lead to poor air quality include the following.
Chemicals that are contained in building materials, appliances, and household products can lead to serious health problems. For example, heaters and devices that are fueled by wood and gas can emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Here are some other concerning products.
How Scientists Evaluate Health Risks in Indoor Air
In order to determine the health risks inside a building, scientists gather evidence and evaluate four things:
In the course of evaluating indoor air quality, researchers also study how pollutants impact certain populations. While all individuals are different in their physical makeups, certain groups of humans are more susceptible to being harmed than others. Some of the more vulnerable groups include the following:
Other factors also play a part in how vulnerable individuals are to indoor air pollution. For example, people with poor nutrition, unhealthy lifestyles, certain genetic traits, and autoimmune challenges can be more severely impacted than those with healthier countenances and lifestyles.
Evaluating the risks of indoor air pollution is challenging because there are so many particles, chemicals, biological materials, and environmental considerations involved. Buildings that have a high rate of pollution may be labeled as “sick buildings” that are not habitable. By addressing factors such as ventilation, building materials, chemicals used, and lifestyle habits, the air quality with buildings can be improved.
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