Air quality has been a health concern for decades. Outdoor air quality has dominated the limelight in the past, thanks to the dramatic images coming from cities such as China and India blanketed in smog.
While indoor air pollution has always been a reason to worry, it is only becoming more significant now than ever before. Here’s why.
1. Growing Interest in Health and Wellness
Consumer interest in indoor air quality is part of the overarching decades-long trend of health and wellness interest.
The air is, after all, critical for our overall health. There is a growing understanding that the planet is not impregnable and that everyday actions can endanger the Earth.
More people are searching online for “air quality services near me” to learn about how to improve their home’s air quality.
More people now appreciate the need to think about the air we breathe just as keenly as we do the water we drink. The same way you would be reluctant to drink dirty water is the same way you should avoid breathing dirty air.
Health and wellness interest are here to stay, driven by a generation that prioritizes well-being more than any other before it.
2. Information Access
It is one thing to have an interest in health and wellness, but entirely another to have access to relevant information.
Information access has powered the interest in health and wellness around the world, and a lot of that is thanks to the proliferation of the internet.
This has been complemented by the availability of tools that make measuring air quality relatively easy.
People can quickly educate themselves on the importance of indoor air quality and the things they can do to improve conditions where they live, work and play.
Armed with this knowledge, they can push their households, building managers and employers to pay more attention to indoor air quality.
3. Working from Home
The growing number of the global workforce has transitioned to working from home over the last decade. This trend, however saw a dramatic acceleration in 2020 with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders compelled organizations to facilitate telecommuting for their employees.
With more time being spent indoors, the quality of indoor air is a key concern. Not only are we exposed to the same pollutants present outdoors whenever we open a window or door, we now have to contend with pollutants that are specific to the indoors.
These include pet dander, dust, mold, combustion particles and the chemicals present on furniture, paint, floors and appliances.
4. Airtight Home and Office Environments
To make buildings more energy-efficient for HVAC systems, homes and offices are experiencing reduced ventilation.
Given that businesses and consumers today are sensitive to energy use, architects and engineers often focus on energy savings, sometimes to the detriment of occupant health, safety and comfort.
Airtight homes and offices inadvertently cause a buildup of indoor pollutants that can reach levels that would be harmful outdoors.
Computers, photocopiers, faxes and printers in the workplace and at home are all potential sources of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
5. Growing Incidences of Asthma and Allergies
Asthma prevalence in the United States has been steadily increasing over the last 40 years across racial groups, sex and age.
Over 25 million Americans today have asthma, and more than 50 million Americans experience various allergies symptoms each year. Allergies are now the sixth leading cause of chronic conditions.
The cause of the increasing incidence of allergies and asthma is still not fully understood. There have been many theories, and it might be a combination of factors.
Some of the reasons cited include antibiotic use, vitamin D deficiency, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and poor hygiene. Many have also cited indoor and outdoor pollution as a likely trigger.
It’s About Time
Indoor air quality has always been vital for health and well-being. However, it has not always been assigned the priority it deserves. That is quickly changing as multiple factors come together at the same time.
More people today want to understand the quality of indoor air they breathe. Thanks to technology making the invisible visible, you can make the appropriate decisions to ensure the better indoor air quality in your life.