Indoor Air Pollution | Are You Suffering From Indoor Air Pollution?
Indoor Air Pollution | Are you stuck inside all day, traveling from home to work and back again? Getting some fresh air does more than just “make you feel good,” it is also good and essential for your health. In fact, you may be suffering from side effects of indoor air pollution and not even know it. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.” Knowing the risks of indoor air pollution as well as controlling exposure to common indoor pollutants can help reduce adverse health effects.
Common types of indoor air pollutants
Over the years studies have found that a number of environmental chemical pollutants have the ability to interfere with proper functioning of the endocrine system. These types of air chemical pollutants are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals. There are many sources of air pollutants, but here is a list of the most common types:
- Tobacco products
- Fuel burning appliances
- Deteriorating asbestos containing insulation
- Newly installed carpet, flooring, or upholstery
- Certain newly pressed wood products
- Household cleaning materials
- Excess moisture
- Components of plastic (phthalates, bisphenol A)
The length of time pollutant concentrations remain in the air depends specifically on the type of pollutant. It is important to determine the emission source, as well as how hazardous those chemicals are.
Side effects of indoor air pollution
The side effects related to indoor air pollution can be experienced anywhere from right after to the exposure to years after. The more immediate side effects experienced after exposure are obvious and very treatable. These symptoms include irritation of the eyes, nose, and mouth, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. In majority of these cases, eliminating exposure to the pollutant will resolve the symptoms. If an individual has a history of respiratory disease such as asthma, symptoms may worsen shortly after exposure.
The long term health effects of air pollutant exposure are more difficult to detect because they can show up years after the initial or repeated exposure has occurred. These health effects include respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer, and endocrine system disruptions. Making sure that the air quality and ventilation of your home and workplace is free of harmful contaminants is imperative to your health.
Identify the problem and improve air quality
The primary cause of indoor pollution are sources that release these harmful chemicals as gas particles into the air. Inadequate ventilation plays a huge role in determining the severity of air pollution by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute the indoor pollutant emissions or remove enough indoor air to the outside. Humidity and heat can also increase the concentration of some air pollutants.
Improving your indoor air quality is easier than you may think. If you have a source in your building that is emitting harmful chemicals, the best thing to do is remove it. The next easiest way to improve indoor air quality, is to improve the building’s ventilation. Simply opening up doors, and windows to allow more outdoor air in to circle through is a great way to lower concentrations of indoor air pollutants. Air cleaners may be helpful, but the effectiveness depends on how much air it draws in, as well as how well it collects air pollutants.
If you are experiencing symptoms from indoor air pollution, consider a consult with a doctor of functional medicine Overland Park KS offers, who can assist you. A treatment plan will be created to help establish hormonal balance and improve your overall health.