Indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Sometimes as much as 100 times more polluted.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has not been studied as effectively as outdoor air quality, but from what we do know, it can be more contaminated than outdoor air. There are many factors that play into this. Here are just a few examples:
- Where you live (i.e., next to a major highway or out in the country near crops that are sprayed with pesticides - the amount and types of contaminants that make their way into your home vary widely)
- What types of products you use: volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be found in many common household and personal care products and can "off gas" into your air. Anything from paints, flooring, furniture, carpeting to fragrances from candles or air fresheners and stove-top cooking can play a part in how clean your indoor air is. (scroll past the infographic for more details on specific products and chemicals)
- Amount of ventilation: If your home is air tight and you never open windows, contaminants can build up and can cause "sick building syndrome." Open windows when possible to increase air flow and allow contaminants to escape. Of course, if you are in the midst of wildfire season or live near a factory, opening windows is not a good idea.
Purchasing an air purifier can help, but be sure you choose one that is backed by efficacy studies. Some units even feature technology that measures air quality! (Check out our air purification products, which are backed by efficacy studies AND can monitor air quality).
A recent study indicates that unclean air can increase the risk of respiratory problems and increase the fatality rate by 15 percent.
Additionally, Harvard Medical School states that infectious viral particles can float or drift around in the air for up to three hours (Covid-19 Basics, Harvard Health) making air filtration another component to fight the spread.
The infographic below illustrates 5 startling facts about indoor air pollution and offers simple solutions for improving the air quality in your home or office, so you can breathe easier.
Here is a list of common volatile organic compunds:
Acetone is potent and found in common products such as nail polish remover, furniture polish and wallpaper and is one of the most common VOCs out there. Alcohol-based nail polish removers and water-based furniture polishes are much safer alternatives.
Candles, barbecues and gas stoves increase the presence of butanal, one of the most common volatile organic chemicals. To help reduce butane, be sure to ventilate when cooking and use 100% beeswax or soy-based candles.
This VOC is found in chlorinated tap water.
Often referred to as isopropanol, or isopropyl alcohol, this is common solvent for home and professional use. It’s often used as a disinfecting agent, and it also evaporates quickly, making it easy for large amounts to build up in the home. Make sure to have proper ventilation to maintain air quality, and consider using breathing protection when using alcohol in enclosed areas.
This VOC is present in everyday products such as molded plastics and lacquers. Avoid heating plastics, and limit plastic use in general so as to keep concentrations of formaldehyde low. Carefully read labels on finishing products and, if you have to use products containing formaldehyde, be sure to use in well-ventilated areas.
Also known as dichloromethane, you'll find this VOC in paint removers, aerosol solvents and other flame retardant chemicals. It's particularly dangerous, although difficult to exist in large concentrations because of its rapid rate of evaporation. Yet in the home, it’s easier for it to collect. Use proper ventilation if you have to deal with products containing methylene chloride.
The Purashield Smart 500 and 1000 molecular air scrubbers monitor air quality, while purifying indoor air. Purchase four units and we will send you $150 back (valid through June 15, 2021).