Home Health Best practices for environmental health : environmental pollution, protection, quality and sustainability
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
(See endnotes 75, 76)
Statement of Problem and Special Information for Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air frequently is more contaminated than the ambient air which entered the property originally from the outside. Additional pollutants are generated within the premises through many different sources. Indoor air has been contaminated as long as people have lived in enclosed areas, from the cave dwellers who breathed in smoke from cooking and heating fires, to the enclosed environments of the Industrial Revolution where products of combustion were present and a variety of chemicals were being used, to modern days where the most recent and most complex problems of contaminated indoor air were an unintended consequence of energy conservation, when structures were sealed to become airtight as a response to the energy crisis of the 1970s.
Indoor air quality in homes, offices, and other structures is affected by the accumulative effects of: air pollutants found in the ambient air and also those generated inside the structures including dampness, moisture, and flooding; biological agents, insects, and rodents; chemicals including solvents used for cleaning, air fresheners, pest control, cosmetics, hobbies, and those found in insulation, building materials, new carpeting, pressed wood products, etc.; waste materials created by renovation projects; cigarette smoke; particulate matter and other pollutants from malfunctioning and improperly vented fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, and space heaters; radon gas; improper and poorly maintained building ventilation, heating, cooling, and dehumidification systems; the accumulations of poor housekeeping which may occur in the inside of the structure; and the sealing of cracks and crevices in facilities. The amount of air flowing in and out of the structure may contribute to the level and concentration of pollutants in the structure.
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