Indoor Air Quality Matters More Than Ever (but plants aren't the solution)

"What we breathe indoors is on average two to five times more toxic than what is typically outside."

By Jo Meunier (née Disney), AllWork.Space

We humans are an indoor species.

Case in point, did you know that Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors?

It’s a startling amount. And over the past 12+ months, owing to coronavirus lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, that level has likely increased.

Now, with restrictions easing in parts of the world and people once again leaving their homes to use offices, shops, restaurants, cinemas, and gyms, it’s raising fresh questions around the safety of indoor environments.

Specifically, indoor air quality.

And since what we breathe indoors is on average two to five times more toxic than what is typically outside — because of poor ventilation and off-gassing of toxic chemicals – these are questions that need answering.

Here’s how the EPA defines indoor air quality (which has its own abbreviation: IAQ) and why it’s an important topic on the health and wellness agenda:

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.

Those “indoor health concerns” have intensified since the onslaught of Covid-19, since transmission of respiratory droplets is made easier by poorly ventilated spaces.

In fact, a new study by the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London found that in poorly ventilated spaces, the virus behind Covid-19 can spread further than two meters in seconds. The study also claimed that the virus is far more likely to spread through prolonged talking than through coughing.

But while coronavirus is currently top of mind, it isn’t the only health concern linked with the air quality of indoor spaces.

The EPA lists various health effects associated with indoor air pollutants, including irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches, dizziness, and fatigue; respiratory diseases, and even heart disease and cancer.

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A study started in 2015 by Joseph Allen, a public health researcher at Harvard, examined the impacts of ventilation on office workers. Read More

Source: AllWork.Space

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