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The Importance of Indoor Air Quality

April 09, 2023 2 min read

We breathe in an average of 11,000 litres of air per day. The quality of this air affects our health as much as the quality of the water we drink and the food we eat.

Airborne Contaminants Concentrate Indoors

Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.1

We breathe in the visible dust and dirt that builds up so quickly on surfaces in our homes and at work. We are also inhaling countless invisible indoor pollutants many of which come from the stream of new products we bring into our homes and offices on a regular basis. Some degree of chemical residue or off-gassing occurs from most of these new items or from the packaging that comes with them. The harmful effects of these indoor contaminants can be subtle and cumulative, making impacts on health not easy to recognize.

Indoor Air Quality Worse Than Outdoor Air

Indoor air quality is typically 2 – 5 times worse than outdoor air1 where sun, wind and rain can have a cleansing influence on atmospheric conditions. 

Some Common Indoor Air Pollutants

  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from plastics, electronics, paint, chlorinated water
  • formaldehyde from furniture, cabinetry, building materials, upholstery and drapery
  • mold and mildew
  • bacteria and viruses
  • allergens from dust and pollen
  • pet dander, dust and odour
  • tobacco, wood, candle and recreational smoke
  • chemicals from household cleaners
  • aerosols in personal care products
  • radon from granite, smoke detectors, some clocks and watches
  • heavy metals and exhaust from traffic

Chronic Air Pollution Causes More Premature Deaths than Car Crashes

Chronic exposure to air pollution causes nearly nine times as many premature deaths as traffic crashes according to research carried out at the University of British Columbia. 2


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1http://www.epa.gov/region1/communities/indoorair.html
2
Canadian Medical Association Journal: Michael Bauer, ScD Oct 21, 2013

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash


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