Indoor Air Quality and Your Health

Improving the air in your home can prevent allergies and respiratory conditions from being triggered, plus ease the symptoms of irritation from dust and mould.

Why is the Air We Breathe Indoors a Health Hazard?

Whilst we usually associate air pollution with smoking chimneys and burning fires, you may be surprised to know that our indoor air quality can be ten times more polluted than outdoors.

In an age when we spend about 90% of our time indoors (homes, schools, offices, cars, shops) it’s really important to reduce our indoor toxic exposures as much as we can.

There are many noxious gases that can be released inside our homes including carbon monoxide, tiny particulates and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) some of which are known carcinogens.

One simple reason our indoor air quality is so poor is that we just don’t open our windows and doors often enough to allow whatever has accumulated inside to leave.

This isn’t uncommon, as we either try to heat our homes or cool them down with air conditioning.

Another surprising factor is the rise of the energy-efficient sustainable home – so efficient that without opening windows and doors condensation becomes problematic, potentially giving rise to mould.

Symptoms Associated with Poor Air Quality

Conditions and symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality include: asthma and allergies, wheezing, headaches, some cancers and it also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

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asthma and allergies

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cancer

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wheezing

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increased risk of heart attack

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headaches

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increased risk of stroke

Plus, water-damaged buildings can expose you to a dangerous concoction of chemicals: mould, bacteria, VOCs and inflammagens that in combination can cause illness.

About 24% of the population are genetically-susceptible to the development of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) because they cannot make the antibodies to deal with mould and biotoxins. Their immune systems go into overdrive when exposed and do not shut down.

CIRS can present in many ways and is often be misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, allergies, ADHD etc.

What Contributes to the Air Pollution we Breathe?

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furniture and upholstery off-gas chemicals and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

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paints and varnishes off-gas numerous chemicals and VOCs.

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carpets made of synthetic dyed material off-gas VOCs, as does the underlay, foam backing and glue

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biotoxins such as mould

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cleaning products, personal care products and fragrances release toxic chemicals into the air

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pesticide drift from outside or brought it on your shoes

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pollens from outdoors can enter the home

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lead dust from paints, window sills and toys, or brought in on your shoes

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heating systems, wood fires and stoves can release carbon monoxide

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pollutants from nearby roads or industry

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asbestos dust from old flooring or home installations

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tobacco smoke

Whilst it probably appears that there is much to work on, we can tick these hazards off one-by-one quite easily.

How I Can Help to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

Book an Air Quality Assessment

How does an air quality assessment work?

  1. An initial phone consultation to discuss your concerns and needs.
  2. Completion of a brief questionnaire.
  3. Determination as to the requirement for air quality sampling, mould testing or lead testing in consultation with you*.
  4. On-site audit to assess possible causes of poor air quality.
  5. Verbal feedback on the day.
  6. A report including a checklist of air quality hazards with a priority rating for action steps.
  7. Follow up phone call and email to check-in on action steps.

Prices start from $350 depending on location.

Book your Air Quality Assessment

Una Phelan Eco Coach

*Air quality sampling is not usually necessary and is completely optional. It is an additional cost to the standard site visit. After the on-site audit you will be able to eliminate or dramatically reduce the hazards causing air quality issues in your home. This is usually sufficient in negating the need for air quality sampling. However, mould testing can also be extremely useful if mould appears to be a concern. Lead sampling can be undertaken yourself or I can do that for you depending on the scope of work.

Learn More About Air Quality