A major factor that many overlook when creating a healthy lifestyle is evaluation of the air they breath. Oxygen is a life sustaining component. Without it you die. To get it you breath. It is what comes along with those breaths you take that can cause your health to breakdown.
We all face a variety of risks to our health as we go about our daily lives. Your exposure to environmental pollutants in the air you breath poses varying degrees of risk.
Some of these risks are unavoidable, some you choose to accept, and some you might avoid if informed of the choices. Well, indoor air pollution is one risk that you can do something about, provided you know that there is even a risk.
A growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than otherwise thought. Since many of us spend a lot of our breathing time indoors, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.
While pollutant levels from individual sources may not pose a significant health risk by themselves, most homes have more than one source that contributes to indoor pollutants in the air you breath. Serious health risks may result from a cumulative effects of these sources.
There are steps you can take to reduce the risk from existing sources and to prevent new problems from occurring. Your sources of indoor air you breath pollutants might be:
- combustion sources
- building materials and furnishings
- products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
- central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
- outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution.
The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods.
When not enough outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. Weather conditions may also play a role in preventing outdoor air from getting in.
The 3 ways outdoor air enters and leaves a house are:
- infiltration: outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors.
- natural ventilation: air moves through opened windows and doors.
- mechanical ventilation devices: air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house.
Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air temperature differences between indoors and outdoors and by wind. When there is little infiltration, natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later. You may be experiencing symptoms breathing polluted indoor air and don’t realize that this is the cause of those symptoms.
Some symptoms include eyes, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Simply eliminating your exposure to indoor pollution may be all it takes. It is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution, therefore it is important to pay attention to the time and place the symptoms occur.
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 not noticeable.
While pollutants commonly found in indoor air are responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants.
Being aware of the type and number of potential sources affecting the air that you breath is an important step toward assessing its quality. Another is to look at your lifestyle and activities. Human activities can be significant sources of indoor air pollution. Finally, and maybe most important, is consider the ventilation of your home.
Indoor air needs to exchange with outdoor for healthy lifestyle maintenance in that air you breath!
- Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide Effects When in Breath of Air
- Death by Dirt: Methane Gas Causes Low Oxygen Level
- Health Risks, Source and Testing Radon Gas Levels
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning of Flu Like Symptoms and Fatal
No Comments »
Filed under: Air Quality, Healthy Lifestyle