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Indoor Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency ranks poor indoor air quality (iaq) among the top five health risks in the United States today. Studies by the E.P.A. indicate that indoor air levels of pollutants are often two to five times higher than outside, and sometimes one hundred times.

Cleaning products are among the major polluters of our indoor air. They emit volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds, (VOC’s) are compounds that vaporize (become a gas) at room temperature. Other common sources, that emit VOC’s into indoor air, include maintenance products, and building and furnishing materials. In sufficient quantities, VOC’s can cause eye, nose, and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, memory impairment; some are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected to cause cancer in humans. Children are the most vulnerable to the volatile organic compounds.

A study conducted by, The Silent Spring Institute, where air and dust samples were taken from 120 Massachusetts homes found potentially harmful levels of cancer-causing and human reproduction-disrupting chemicals. These came from window cleaners, laundry detergents, cleaners, spot removers, hair dyes, nail polishes, plastics, electronics and flame retardant carpeting and furniture.

Childhood asthma has nearly doubled in the last 20 years according to the American Lung Association. Asthma is the # 1 cause of absenteeism in schools. Allergic reactions to “ Sick Building” indoor environments account for more than ten million workdays missed by U.S. employees each year. Two thirds of all commercial buildings have “Sick Building Syndrome.”

The E.P.A. says that indoor air quality is one risk that you can do something about.

Links

www.epa.gov/iaq
www.lungusa.org– select air quality, then, scroll down to indoor air quality.