|Why is Indoor Air Quality important?|
Most of our time is spent indoors where there are many types
of air pollution: consumer products, appliances, building materials,
cigarette smoke, and furniture can all contribute to the problem.
The Environmental Protection Agency ranked indoor air pollution fourth
in cancer risk among 13 top environmental problems analyzed. Indoor
radon gas was at the top of this list. A lot relates to the problem of
indoor air quality problems. First of all, we spend most of our time
indoors. Because many pollutants are found indoors we all inhale them
everyday. Secondly, indoor air pollution is often higher than those
outdoors. The EPA has said indoor levels of pollutants, such as
formaldehyde, chloroform, and styrene, range from 2 to 5 times higher
than outdoor levels. Exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke is
Indoor air pollution consists of toxic gases or particles that can harm
your health. These pollutants can build up rapidly indoors to levels
much higher than those usually found outdoors. This is especially true
if large amounts of a pollutant are released indoors. Additionally, the
better construction in newer homes can prevent pollutants from escaping
to the outdoors.
- According to the EPA, the air inside your home may be 10 times more polluted than the air
- More than half -- 55% -- of the US population is breathing unhealthy amounts of air pollution according to the American Lung Associationís State of the Air, 2004.
- According to the American Lung Association, 20.3 million Americans are currently battling asthma.
- Today, some 50 million Americans suffer from at least one allergic condition according to American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. These allergies are responsible for $15 billion in medical costs and an estimated 10 million lost school days and 3.5 million lost workdays each year.
- Asthma cases have increased by more than
100% since 1976.
- About 1 in 9 children now
- Death rates due to asthma have tripled, and
quintupled in children ages 5 to 9, since 1976.
- Hospitalization rates and doctor visits are
still continuing to increase dramatically.
- According to the American
College of Allergies, 50% of all illness is aggravated or
caused by polluted indoor air.
- Today's homes and buildings are built
and contain a long list of pollution sources (see list). As a
result, natural air-cleansing agents such as ozone and negative ions
are kept out, while contaminants are kept in. A recent study found that the
allergen level in
super-insulated homes is 200% higher than it is in ordinary homes.
- According to Scientific America, a baby crawling on the
floor inhales the equivalent of 4 cigarettes a day, as a result of the
outgassing of carpets, molds, mildews, fungi, dust mites, etc.
- The EPA informs us that
6 out of 10 homes and buildings
are "sick", meaning they are hazardous to your health to occupy as a result of airborne pollutants.
- High levels of microscopic, soot-like particles are increasing the risk of premature death for millions of people, including those with heart or lung disease, according to the American Lung Association State of the Air: 2004.
Sick Building Syndrome, a worldwide phenomenon, results when chemical substances used in office construction are steadily released into the atmosphere from electronic equipment, carpeting, furniture and fittings.
- Virus, fungus, bacteria and hundreds of other germs are carried in the air at all times. If inhaled into the lungs, germs can cause cold, flu, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. When these germs lodge in your lungs, your breathing can be disrupted and you can become ill. American Lung Association
- Indoor air pollutants can cause asthma attacks, as well as itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose. Radon and tobacco smoke can cause even more dangerous health effects, including lung cancer, according the American Lung Association
- Strong new evidence suggests that air pollution emitted by power plants and vehicles across the U.S. raises the risk of lung disease, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Our Web site endeavors to provide you, our customer, with the knowledge necessary to understand the complicated issues of indoor air pollution and its remedies. Much of the dangers found in our homes and places of work often can't be seen and may have no detectable odor, unfortunately these silent invaders are responsible for all types of allergies and disease, which for many results in a poor quality of life and sometimes even death. Few of us realize that items such as laundry and dishwasher detergent, polishes, paints, wood based building material, carpets, cosmetics, etc., generate measurable air pollutants.
Listed below are the categories that pollutants fall into:
1. Particulates: dust, smoke, etc.
2. Bioaerosols: micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, mold, etc..
3. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): chemical or odor causing gases etc.
Click on the above pages for more detail and definitions.
Of the three categories of contaminants mentioned above, the Center for Disease Control has reported that bio-aerosols and volatile organic compounds combine for over 65% of our indoor air pollution and are the main contributors or causes of allergies, asthma, respiratory problems and general poor health. See How Second Wind Air Purifiers Can Help!
New AirFree Air Purifier
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- Has an area in a home, condo, office or apartment
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- Needs to eliminate mold spores, fungi, bacteria
and viruses in an office, kitchen, family room, bedroom or basement
- Wants an air purifier that incinerates all
microorganisms which pass through it, in addition to smoke and
- Has allergies or asthma
- Needs to preserve documents, video tapes, computers, works of art and other valuables that can be affected by mold, fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms.
- Perfect for someone who wants to eliminate
germs in a child care or medical environment.
- Wants a unit that requires no maintenance
- no air purifier filters or replacement parts used
- Wants a silent air sterilizer
- Wants a chemical and ozone free air
- Needs an air sterilizer that is lightweight and easily moved from place to place
Hepa Air Purifiers: The HEPA air purifiers Austin Air Healthmate, Healthmate Plus and HEGA Air Purifiers are perfect for someone who...
Suffers from Allergy/asthma
Has multiple chemical sensitivities and needs an air filter
that doesn't offgas
Wants a good value in an air purifier for particulates, odors and gases for up to 1500 sq ft
Needs HEPA particulate (small particle) filtration as well as filters for gases,
odors and or smoke problems
A city dweller with medium particulate allergies who also may
have city or neighborhood pollutants that produce odors, gases and
Needs to remove volatile organic compounds and chemically reactive gases such as formaldehyde, ammonias and odors
Wants an air purifier that resists scratching, scuffing and smudging
Wants to be able to move the air purifier easily from room to room on casters.
Allerair Air Purifiers
Combination UV & Hepa Air Purifiers: The HEPA air purifiers AllerAir Air Purifiers are ideal for someone who...
Has hyper chemical sensitivity to VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
Has odors or sensitivity to compounds released from a new home, new furniture, new carpeting or anything that releases VOCs
Is a heavy smoker or lives with persons who are heavy smokers
Needs to sterilize, kill and disinfect most germs, bacteria, microbes and viruses
Wants features commonly ordered for use in hostile or toxic air
environments such as medical facilities or government military buildings
in order to reduce potent airborne contaminants
NeoAir Enviro Care Air Purifiers
The Neoair Enviro PLUS is the latest addition in the Neoair Family. More powerful than ever this model features a huge 600 sq ft coverage area. With the new SuperHEPA filter this unit is especially recommended to asthma sufferers and to people that are extra sensitive to dusts and pollens. The SuperHEPA incorporates twice as much filter media making it more efficient against the finest particles and allergens.
Is air pollution being produced and distributed in your home?
Unfortunately, often the answer is yes.
Just as uncontrolled industrial processes can foul the air outside, many of industrial products, wonderful as they are, can contribute to air pollution in our homes. The process of cooking, as well as heating and cooling our homes, can also add to indoor pollution.
And this pollution can be trapped indoors. In past years, our need to save energy encouraged us to conserve it where we could. So we made our houses airtight, adding storm windows and insulation. We applied weather stripping and caulking to seal cracks, and have increasingly turned to kerosene, wood and coal to help heat our homes. However, we have often ignored the effects of these measures on indoor air quality. As a result, researchers have found air pollution can be much greater inside the home than outside.
On average we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors - out of that 90 percent, 65 percent is spent at home.
The people who are especially susceptible are the very ones who spend the most time at home. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with lung disease -- these become the major victims of indoor air pollution.
What's worse, like so much air pollution, many of the contaminating substances give no warning and produce vague and sometimes similar symptoms that are hard to pin down to a specific cause or produce symptoms years later, when it's even harder to discover the cause.
Based on research already done on industrial and outdoor air pollution, and more recent research on a variety of indoor pollutants, we can identify many harmful substances.
We know the effects they can have and many of their sources. In many circumstances, we can take responsibility for the quality of air in our own homes.
Causes Indoor Air Problems?
Indoor pollution sources
that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor
air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor
pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions
from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home.
High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some
Effects of Biological Pollutants
All of us are exposed
to biological pollutants. However, the effects on our health depend upon
the type and amount of biological pollution and the individual person.
Some people do not experience health reactions from certain biological
pollutants, while others may experience one or more of the following reactions:
Except for the spread
of infections indoors, ALLERGIC REACTIONS may be the most common health problem
with indoor air quality in homes. They are often connected with animal dander
(mostly from cats and dogs), with house dust mites (microscopic animals living
in household dust), and with pollen. Allergic reactions can range from mildly
uncomfortable to life-threatening, as in a severe asthma attack. Some common
signs and symptoms are:
experts are especially concerned about people with asthma. These people have
very sensitive airways that can react to various irritants, making breathing
difficult. The number of people who have asthma has greatly increased in recent
years. The number of people with asthma has gone up by 59 percent since 1970,
to a total of 9.6 million people. Asthma in children under 15 years of age
has increased 41 percent in the same period, to a total of 2.6 million children.
The number of deaths from asthma is up by 68 percent since 1979, to a total
of almost 4,400 deaths per year.
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Nasal congestion
- Wheezing and difficulty
INFECTIOUS DISEASES caused
by bacteria and viruses, such as flu, measles, chicken pox, and tuberculosis,
may be spread indoors. Most infectious diseases pass from person to person
through physical contact. Crowded conditions with poor air circulation can
promote this spread. Some bacteria and viruses thrive in buildings and circulate
through indoor ventilation systems. For example, the bacterium causing Legionnaire's
disease, a serious and sometimes lethal infection, and Pontiac Fever, a flu-like
illness, have circulated in some large buildings.
Air and Your Health
Health effects from indoor
air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years
later. Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures.
These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness,
and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable.
Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person's exposure to the
source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases,
including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may
also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.
The likelihood of immediate
reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and preexisting
medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a
person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies
tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological
pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become
sensitized to chemical pollutants as well.
Certain immediate effects
are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult
to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution.
For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place the
symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from
the home and return when the person returns, an effort should be made to identify
indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse
by an inadequate supply of outdoor air or from the heating, cooling, or humidity
conditions prevalent in the home.
Other health effects may
show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated
periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases,
heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent
to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are
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