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A Look at Indoor Air Quality

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INDOOR AIR complaints have become a serious problem within our homes and buildings. Flu like symptoms can derive from the bacteria in the air we breathe  within our homes.

This condition can be named as SBS or Sick Building Syndrome.

Discussions about INDOOR AIR QUALITY emerged in the 1970's as a result of the energy crisis leading to home construction that was more efficient by way of being sealed up tight and subsequently lacking adequate ventilation.

Furthermore, may lead to further serious structural conditions such as dry rot, high moisture content, weeping of windows,  inconsistent temperature problems, lingering health problems such flu symptoms, upper respiratory ailments, allergy and asthma.

As we spend almost 90% of our time indoors, especially in colder climates including Minnesota, it is imperative that our indoor home and office living environments are suitable for healthy living. Our indoor air quality can be up to 100 times more polluted and much more harmful to our health than the air we breathe outdoors.

Why, because the air we breathe indoors is trapped, confined and recirculated especially during the cold winter months in Minnesota. We breathe up to 20,000 liters of air per day, our lungs and bronchial pathways require the  ability to cleanse and react quickly and often to these nasty airborne sub microscopic pollutants such as dust mites and dust mite feces. Dust mite feces are generally living organisms reproducing within our homes that may lead to concurrent asthma attacks. Ask yourself this question: Do you feel better when removed or away from its indoor environment for a period of time?

It’s common knowledge that the lack of ventilation is a detriment to our INDOOR AIR QUALITY and indoor environments. How? Stagnant air inundates the occupants with a concentration of pollutants. It may seem innocuous but poor indoor air quality may be associated with cough, congestion, skin irritations, lingering illnesses, indoor allergies, aggravating upper respiratory ailments and a collective problem called SICK BUILDING SYNDROME.

 WHAT IS SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

SICK BUILDING SYNDROME describes what happens when a combination of indoor air toxins, pollutants, poor air flow, inadequate filtration and lack of ventilation interact with the human respiratory system. Especially in children, elderly and weakened immune systems.

Because the list of pollutants are so many, and their effects so varied, SICK BUILDING SYNDROME has a multitude of symptoms and can rear its head in many ways.

In general, however, the most prevalent symptoms include eye and skin irritation to include nonspecific upper respiratory symptoms. Pollutants such as house dust, dust mite feces, mold, harmful living (submicroscopic) organisms, bacteria, pollen, pet dander, chemicals, VOCs and toxic gases can be harmful to our own health. Especially in young children.

Other major contributors include high moisture content, dryness, lack of indoor air flow, inconsistent temperature problems, subpar filtration methods, incapacitated air ducts, inadequate ventilation methods, lack of return air flow (wide spread) and chemical vapors can all produce adverse effects. Stack and chimney effect may relate to an equilibrium and/or imbalance of diverse pressure zones within our own home. In more severe cases, causing a pressure imbalance within our homes that may lead to possible back drafting or higher concentrated levels of carbon monoxide.

The combination of one or more of these pollutants can multiply the problem and/or any compound that can pollute the air can be a factor of SICK BUILDING SYNDROME.

They need not be inorganic “factory” chemicals. Fungi are “natural” but also an especially major biological pollutant in the indoor environment. As long as moisture and oxygen are available, mold is able to grow. This leads to it being found on nearly any surface in a building, including carpets, ceiling tiles, insulation, inside air duct systems, other surfaces, wallpapers or air conditioning indoor cooling coils. Indoor environments that provide exposure to fungus may cause health problems such as allergy, asthma, pneumonia, airway irritation, upper respiratory problems, effects of asthma/allergies and much more.

WHAT FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

When air pollutants emanate from building materials and furnishings, they are trapped by the lack of ventilation and are left lingering in your home for the air we breathe. Our lungs inhale/exhaust up to 20,000 liters of air each and every day.

Lack of indoor ventilation, lack of combustion air, lack of make up air, inadequate air flow, lack of return air, non-metallic return air chutes within structure, over-sized air ducts, under-sized air ducts, poor indoor air filtration methods may also contribute to our health known as SICK BUILDING SYNDROME.

HOW COMMON IS SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

SBS (SICK BUILDING SYNDROME) is wide spread and an undermined health problem in many homes and buildings. It may also contribute to increased energy cost due to inadequate and non-functional heating and cooling systems.

Non-functional or lack thereof ventilation systems. Not only limited to developed nations, SICK BUILDING SYNDROME has become a global problem and received global attention. An examination of 37 buildings throughout California found that all of the buildings had very "ineffective" filtering systems.

Furthermore, many buildings failed to meet ventilation standards. Is it for lack of codes, consumer awareness, education or lack of understanding towards the air we breathe?

For more information visit www.tcheatingair.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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