Indoor Air Quality is a term that is used to signify the quality of the surrounding and filled air inside a room or around a structure. It has a complimentary relation with the health and safety of the occupants. Gases such as radon, carbon monoxide, volatile and organic compounds, microbial contaminants, particulates or any other mass stress or that can cause adverse health effects are important components to consider in Indoor Air Quality. Filtration, source control and ventilation in order to dilute the contaminants are the prime methods to improve the quality of air in most of the buildings. The quality of air can be determined by collecting air samples, monitoring the exposure of humans to pollutants, collecting the samples on the surfaces of buildings and modeling of air flow by using computers inside buildings.
Effects of poor indoor air quality
Several health hazards can be caused by the poor quality of air inside the buildings, houses and schools ranging from short period effects like throat and eye irritation to long period effects like cancer and respiratory diseases. Pollutants such as carbon monoxide are highly toxic substances, and exposure to such pollutants can even lead to death.
• Respiratory effects on health – such effects include nose bleeding, runny nose or inflammation of the nose, coughs and sore throat, difficulty in breathing, worsening of asthma and other severe lung diseases.
• More severe effects on health – poor Indoor Air Quality can
cause many other severe effects on health of the occupants such as rashes, chills and fevers, eye or conjunctiva irritation, dizziness and headache, rapid heartbeat or shortening of breath, fatigue and lethargy, vomiting and nausea, muscular pain and hearing loss.
Factors responsible for poor quality of air indoors
• Poor ventilation- this is the most significant factor that is responsible to contaminate the quality of indoor air. If the room is not ventilated properly and the released gases do not escape out as well as the fresh air does not come in, then the room gets filled with released and poisonous gases.
• Problems to control temperature- one of the reasons why
microbial contaminants get inspected in air samples of poor Indoor Air Quality is the problems in maintaining the proper temperature of the rooms. Usually in damp and cold temperatures the microbial contaminants are believed to reproduce.
• Humidity- this is another factor that leads to poor air quality inside. High or low levels of humidity in the air are harmful for the atmosphere and the effects on the occupants. A balanced humidity level is essential for a healthy environment.
• Remodeling of the building recently- such factors which effect the flow of fresh and outside air to come inside is usually responsible to worsen the quality of air.
• Other factors- dust and particles from renovation or construction work near the building or using of pesticides and airborne chemicals may also be responsible for causing bad Indoor Air Quality.
How to improve the indoor quality of air?
• Indoor plants- plants that are grown and planted inside a building along with the component they are grown in can significantly reduce the components of indoor pollution of air, particularly, volatile organic substances such as xylene, toluene and benzene. Removal of carbon dioxide from the environment inside also can be promoted by green plants. Reduction of air borne microbial organisms and microbes, humidity levels and molds is also done by many plants.
• HVAC designing- the technique to be adopted while the construction of many buildings should be the reduction of energy consumption in synchronization with the maintenance in the air quality. Sensors for carbon dioxide release and content can be mounted and installed that will monitor the levels of the gaseous component automatically. Usage of air filters allows the trapping of many air pollutants and particles.
• Understanding the building ecology- what is inside a building and what surrounds it are important factors to keep in mind while designing the ecology of a building.
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