Indoor air quality, or IAQ, describes how the air inside your home or workplace can affect a person’s health, comfort and ability to work. It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (aka ventilation), mold from water damage or exposure to other chemicals. While currently OSHA has no IAQ standards, it does provide guidelines about the most common workplace complaints.
What's In Your Air?
RADON: radioactive gas from soil that can cause lung cancer
SECONDHAND SMOKE: comes from burning tobacco products and can cause cancer
CARBON MONOXIDE: colorless/odorless gas causes headaches, nausea and even death
NITROGEN DIOXIDE: causes eye, nose and throat infection
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs): chemicals found in paints, cleaning supplies, waxes, building materials, insect repellents, air fresheners, etc. Some chemicals can cause cancer, nausea, and eye, nose, and throat irritation
ASTHMA TRIGGERS: mold, dust mites, pet dander and smoke coughing, tightness of the chest, breathing/respiratory problems
MOLD: living things that produce spores that grow into mold — inhaling/touching can cause hay-fever type symptoms
Tips for Controlling Indoor Air Pollutants
- Test for radon. Fix it if there is a problem.
- Reduce asthma triggers (dust, pollen, pet dander, etc.). A great way to reduce levels is with an air purifier.
- Do not let people smoke indoors and reduce contact with smokers.
- Keep house and surfaces clean and dry to prevent mold growth.
- Ventilate house well when using products that cause/produce pollutants.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. If you already have one installed, make sure the batteries still work.