Indoor Air Pollution – Sick Building Syndrome – How common are air quality problems?
In every home there are different fungi, bacteria, spores, viruses, and odours present in the air we breathe. This is quite normal. Only when the amount of these organisms rises to an unhealthy level, we start to suffer from indoor air quality problems. Unfortunately too many of us have to live or work in buildings and rooms that are sick. Sick buildings make people sick. Often the sick buildings affect those we want to protect the most: children in schools and day-care centers, or senior citizens in elderly care homes or hospitals. Clean Air Europe offers solutions to most indoor air quality problems.
We usually think of air pollution as being outdoors, but the air in your house or office could also be polluted. Sources of indoor pollution include:
- Mold and pollen
- Tobacco smoke
- Household products and pesticides
Sometimes a group of people have symptoms that seem to be linked to time spent in a certain building.
There may be a specific cause, such as Legionnaire’s disease. Sometimes the cause of the illness cannot be found. This is known as ‘Sick Building Syndrome’. Usually indoor air quality problems only cause discomfort. Most people feel better as soon as they remove the source of the pollution. However, some pollutants can cause diseases that show up much later, such as respiratory diseases or cancer. Making sure that your building is well-ventilated and getting rid of pollutants can improve the quality of your indoor air.
The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers’ comfort but also for their health.
Poor indoor air quality has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.
Many factors affect the Indoor Air Quality.
These factors include poor ventilation (lack of outside air), problems controlling temperature, high or low humidity, recent remodeling, and other activities in or near a building that can affect the fresh air coming into the building. Sometimes, specific contaminants like dust from construction or renovation, mold, cleaning supplies, pesticides, or other airborne chemicals (including small amounts of chemicals released as a gas over time) may cause poor Indoor Air Quality.