EPA studies show that even in the smoggiest cities, the air inside most modern homes is usually at least ten times more polluted than the air outside.
How can this be? There are many reasons, some of which were discovered only recently. They include invisible assassins like radon and CO2, as well as gas-emitting chemicals like formaldehyde used in making modern carpeting, drapery, household cleaners, furniture and building materials. There are also common airborne pollutants such as pollen, viruses, dust and dust mites and damp areas where standing water can breed mold, mildew and other microbes.
Much of this problem is attributed to the way modern homes are built—for purposes of energy efficiency, and to be as air-tight as possible. The consequence is that stale air, laced with odors, chemicals, irritants – even miniscule insects – often becomes trapped in modern homes, where it circulates over and over. This can lead to eye irritation, sinus congestion, sneezing, runny nose, stuffiness, colds, flu, headaches, dizziness, outbreaks of allergies and asthma, sore throats, and various other respiratory ailments.
So serious and prevalent is this issue that environmentalists have coined a new term for it—IAQ or Indoor Air Quality. Today’s homeowners need to become more aware of the importance of IAQ and what they can do about it.