Trainers, athletes, and arguably anyone that works out regularly seeks a healthy life.
We try to eat right, keep up our workout schedules and take care to balance how much time we spend working, with our families and friends, and simply doing things that we love.
But, there’s often one area of our lives we don’t address, the quality of the air we breathe.
And, not only is it well under our control, it is also easy and relatively inexpensive to make a meaningful impact.
The Air We Breathe at Home
In study after study, a trend has arisen: In United States, the quality of the air indoors is alarmingly worse than the air outdoors. With so much of our lives being spent indoors between working and our home life, we need to include IAQ (indoor air quality) as an important component of our overall health.
One Impactful Study
We were cautious to include just how bad the indoor air quality issue is until after offering simple solutions. Now that we have, take a deep breath (no pun intended), because a recent EPA study has brought some sobering findings to light.
- On average, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.
- Many pollutant concentrations are up to 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels.
- Indoor air pollutant exposure is lined to a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, respiratory disease and even cancer.
Sources of Indoor Pollutants: An Overview
The EPA study was somewhat of a shock to many. How exactly can indoor air be worse, by magnitudes in many cases, than outdoor air? We know that outdoor air has pollution from cars and trucks and industrial production. It creates the haze we often see hanging over major cities and industrial corridors. Indoor air is worse than this?
Your home or business is a microcosm. While not perfectly sealed, it is a small contained environment. Within that environment many sources of pollutants are at used or constantly in operation. The pollutants they create can stay inside the microcosm unless the sources or pollutants are eliminated.
There’s a variety of sources of the pollutants inside a home or business. The lists below include a handful, while uncomprehensive list of common sources of concern.
Indoor Sources of Air Pollution
- Appliances that burn fuel (such as natural gas)
- Cigars, cigarettes and other tobacco products
- Household cleaning products
- HVAC systems and dehumidifiers
- New furniture upholstery
- Some pressed wood flooring and cabinetry
- Recently installed flooring and carpet
Outdoor Sources of Indoor Pollution
- Vehicle emissions
Five simple Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Here are three ways that anyone can improve the quality of the air they breathe. There’s even a couple of recommendations don’t require spending a dime or even leaving your home or office.
Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors when weather permits. This is called natural ventilation, and while it’s most often used to regulate temperature, it can also help reduce the presence of indoor pollutants.
Install Premium Quality Air Filters
Install premium quality air filters which filter out dust, mold, bacteria, virus and other particulates and pollutants from the air in your home. Consider an air filter delivery subscription service that offers high quality filters. Receiving filters on a schedule creates a healthy reminder that they need to be replaced to keep cleaning the air in your home.
Leverage Air Cleaners
Leverage air cleaners with HEPA filters. HEPA air filtration removes the smallest of particles and pollutants. If odors and smoke are also of concern, consider an air cleaner that also have an activated carbon filter. One tip: be sure to choose an air cleaner that can efficiently exchange the air in a room of the size you’ll be using it in. Finally, be cautious of, and understand how, any air cleaner that produces ozone works.
Consult with a Local IAQ Specialist
Consult with a local IAQ specialist to learn what opportunities exist in your home or office to reduce source emissions (such as gas appliances, like stovetops and ovens). IAQ consultants can also identify opportunities for improving both ventilation and preventing the migration of outdoor pollutants indoors.
Do Not allow Smoking Indoors
Do not allow smoking indoors. It sounds obvious because it is. Breathing not only firsthand smoke, but also secondhand smoke provides a well-known and documented health risk. According to the EPA, there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.
Make a Plan. Take Control.
There is a good reason why the EPA’s indoor air quality report made headlines not only in the United States, but worldwide.
In a world where so many take so much care regarding the quality of the water they drink, the food they eat, and in exercising to stay fit, it’s disturbing to learn that we’re all subject to breathing substandard air.
Take the time to learn about indoor air quality and the sources of pollutants indoors. Then, make a plan to improve the air you breathe every day at home and at work.