A growing understanding of how our environments play a key role in our ongoing good health and wellness is showing people all around the world how indoor air quality is important. Modern technology and conveniences may have reduced indoor smoke and other pollutants, but our habits and buildings can come with other risks and irritants. Indoor air quality is important because it can affect everything from our breathing to our mood and productivity, and can have both short and long-term consequences.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants
In Canada, we’re lucky not to have to burn solid fuels to heat our homes or cook our dinners, which, in developing nations, is the top indoor air quality pollutants. Indoor air quality is important because we spend a significant portion of our time indoors, whether that be at the office, gym, or at home. The kinds of indoor air pollutants that we find in Canadian homes can vary depending on many factors, but some of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality are:
Second-Hand Smoke: Despite the warnings and public health campaigns, many people still choose to smoke indoors, where second-hand smoke can have serious health effects on non-smokers, furniture, clothing and more. When someone smokes, most of that smoke doesn’t go into their lungs – it goes out into the air where anyone close by can breathe it in. Second-hand smoke is especially harmful to children, seniors, and to anyone suffering from chronic lung conditions like asthma.
Carbon Monoxide: Known in many places as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is a dangerous indoor air pollutant because it’s both colourless and odourless, making it difficult to identify when you have a problem. Thankfully, carbon monoxide alarms are mandatory in all Ontario homes; for adequate protection, having one on each level of your home will help alert you to rising levels before you feel the effects. If you are a landlord or have a rental suite, installing a carbon monoxide detector is your obligation, and non-compliance can result in a fine.
Radon: Across Canada, more municipalities are becoming aware of radon gas infiltration in our homes. Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced by uranium deep within the soil and rocks underneath our homes. Like carbon monoxide, it is odourless and colourless, and it can be tricky to detect – no plug-in testers exist yet. Outdoors, radon gas dissipates into the environment and is harmless, but the basements of houses can act like a magnet, pulling radon gas into the home where it collects and can, in the long term, cause lung cancer.
Taking Care of your Indoor Air Quality
As these three common pollutants show, indoor air quality is important for your long and short-term health, as well as the comfort of your home. If you have any concerns about your indoor air quality at home or at your office, give us a call! SafeAir can help test your air and make suggestions for improvement that will help you sleep better at night – literally and figuratively. Your indoor air quality is important to us – give us a call at 416-414-5690.