Indoor Air Quality Testing Results in Australia

 28/05/2015

Many recent air quality testing results have shown a connection between poor air quality and the development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Australian researchers concluded that poor indoor air quality made COPD worse and in some cases led to death. A study published in the British Medical Journal compared residents living in the cities of Hobart and Launceston. Researchers found that if they reduced the burning of wood and other organic material the number of COPD deaths were reduced.

These air quality testing results should be of great concern to Australians as it is generally accepted that most spend up to 90% of their time indoors. The impact of indoor air quality being poor can lead to many health concerns. Some estimates suggest that the cost of this may exceed $12 billion a year in Australia.

Studies carried out in other countries have concluded similarly that the detrimental results of bad indoor air leads to many health problems from allergies to serious breathing disorders. Denmark found that when someone has asthma or diabetes, being exposed to bad quality air is even more likely to lead to COPD and other issues. Studies in the US have concluded that wood burning stoves, tobacco smoking indoors and many household cleaners all lead to poor quality air inside.

The findings in these other countries all support the findings Australian researchers have uncovered. Indoor air is defined as air inside any building where people breathe the air for an hour or more. The quality of that air is defined by all the factors related to that air and how these factors react with the general health of those that breathe that air.

One of the big issues ironically, is that as we have become better at insulating our homes to protect ourselves from outdoor elements, this has led to pollutants becoming trapped inside our homes. These pollutants can build up until our homes and offices have air that is often several times worse than the air found outdoors.

The National Health and Medical Research Council reported that these pollutants can be further affected when other elements are present such as dust mites, formaldehyde, fungi and other contaminants. It is not yet known what the overall impact of elements used in building materials might add to this issue. Even less is known of the impact when you combine many of these elements.

What Kinds Of Health Conditions Can Come From Bad Indoor Air?

Many people experience one of several different types of skin breakouts or clear signs of skin irritation. Others develop issues with tasting. They find they cannot enjoy many foods any longer. Some develop an aversion to various odours.

It is also noted that exposure to certain toxins in the air can lead to brain disorders. Additional symptoms one might experience are an irritated throat, red eyes that burn and skin that shows signs of related skin conditions.

If a home or building is found to have many people who experience some of the chronic conditions caused by poor quality air, the home or building may be deemed to have Sick building Syndrome.

Indoor Pollutants You Should Avoid

Smoking inside the home should be avoided at all cost. You should make it a firm and absolute rule that all members of the home and all guests who enter, agree that they will not smoke inside the home. Second hand smoke is just as dangerous for indoor air pollution as the smoke inhaled by the smoker.

Your oven or heater must be kept in good working order. If you know it is not working well or that it needs to be cleaned, don’t put it off. Have any necessary cleaning or repairs done before further use. The pilot light needs to be working correctly as well. A blue flame is most commonly the correct colour for pilot lights. If you find it is orange or yellow, something is wrong. Wood and coal stoves and heaters have specifically been found to be of special concern when it comes to air pollution.

We often use products in our home for cleaning that can contribute to the poor quality of air. If you use mildew removers, furniture polish, amonia, bathroom cleaners or common products like bleach, then you should exchange these for natural alternatives.

When cooking with gas try giving the area some extra ventilation. Remember that as Australians typically spend more time indoors, having good clean air to breathe while inside is imperative.

If you are concerned about your indoor air quality then testing is the best way to determine if there are concerns and what to do about it. 


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