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. Conditions and symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality includes: asthma and allergies, wheezing, headaches, some cancers and it also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
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.
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 does not shut down. CIRS can present in many ways and is often be misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, allergies, ADHD etc.