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Health issues related to air quality

Indoor air quality:
a real public health issue

A real public health issue

We spend 80% of our time in close spaces: home, work, transport.
In such spaces, the air can be 5 to 10 times more hazardous than outdoor air: the increase of air tightness of buildings generates an issue with air renewal.

Study about Indoor Air Quality

VOC measurment in individual home
Source : Observatoire de la Qualité de l’Air Intérieur, 2010

 

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)

Bacteria, spores, pollen, fungi, airborne microorganisms, cigarette smoke, an other harmful particulates in the air are a growing problem. They are produced by human activity such as building material, cleaning products, furniture, etc.

Sources of indoor pollutions

According to the World Health Organization, 40% of all buildings pose a serious health hazard due to indoor air pollution.

 

Major sanitary impacts due to low quality of indoor air

Diziness, irritability, coughing, sneezing, dry eyes, hay fever, allergies, asthma symptoms, sinus problems, ear infections, depression, fatigue, headaches, nausea, breathing problems, respiratory infections, are caused by breathing in pollutants.

The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that 36% of respiratory sickness is directly due to bad indoor air quality, and causes 2 millions deaths every year in the world.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • 20% of all employees have a major illness related to indoor air pollution
  • Billions of dollars are spent annually for medication to help Americans breathe or cure their respiratory illnesses.
  • American businesses lose 18% of annual production due to poor indoor air quality.

Asthma is a very common, highly treatable lung condition. Millions of individuals -children and adults- carry a diagnosis of asthma.

 

What should you do?

The golden rule: aerate your home every day.

Watch the indications on labels: in many countries, construction materials and furniture have a label indicating the level of emission: from A+ (very low) to C (high).

In addition , products limiting their impacts will often display ecolabels (NF Environment, European Ecolabel) .

An ADEME guide offers an overview of our air quality . It details the families of pollution sources and their impacts on our health ; it provides practical solutions and advice.