Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Indoor air quality a global health issue that demands action, report states


While it may already be quite clear that outdoor pollution is a major issue that needs to be addressed in order to improve the quality of living for everyone worldwide, there hasn't been enough emphasis and urgency placed on indoor air quality problems, a new report indicates.

According to a recent report, "The Threat in Our Indoor Air,"  worldwide purifier manufacturing company Blueair says that if the soaring levels of particulate matter that lurk in common homes aren't addressed more forcefully, there could very well be an explosion in the number of people who are diagnosed with respiratory problems such as asthma, as well as decreased tolerance for allergens.

Johan Wennerstrom, head of technology at the Stockholm, Sweden-based air purification manufacturer, indicated that indoor environments can often be a larger health risk than the open air.

"Many people are oblivious to the fact that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outside," said Wennerstrom.

PM2.5 particulate matter tied to reduced lung function
Of noted interest to the report's authors is the high prevalence of specific particles in the atmosphere, known in the scientific world as PM2.5 particulate matter. These microscopic components are so tiny, they easily infiltrate the interiors of homes and places of business. When they're consumed or inhaled in large amounts, they can often lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease and various types of cancer. They typically result from man-made mechanical structures, like the exhaust from automobiles, power plant emissions, industrial processes and combustion engines.

"In addition, scientists have observed higher rates of hospitalizations, emergency room visits and doctor's visits for respiratory illnesses or heart disease during times of high PM concentrations," the report stated. "During these periods of high PM levels, scientists also observed the worsening of both asthma symptoms and acute and chronic bronchitis."

The report also points to other studies, which have shown the connection between children developing serious lung conditions in locations where PM levels are high.

The quality of air is an issue many governments around the country are facing. Earlier this year, the European Union dubbed 2013 the "Year of the Air," urging legislatures around the world to combat the breathing-related issues that are reducing the quality of life of millions of people.

One of the ways in which homeowners can address this issue is by having a home inspection done. Though it may not seem like the air is of bad quality in a given home, certain pollutants can lurk inside walls or in unusual places that can lead to respiratory health disabilities.