INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ)
The links are not intended to cause alarm, but to inform of the importance of IAQ and occupant health.
YOU WOULDN’T DRINK DIRTY WATER, WHY BREATHE DIRTY AIR?
The Big Picture is that modern homes are almost airtight, and made from materials that “leach out” dangerous chemicals (VOCs), for many years. When homes are “closed up” for long periods (usually to conserve energy), it causes occupants to breathe stale air that is contaminated with leachate chemicals, excessive moisture, and dust mite and other allergens.
Asthma is only one form of allergic reaction. Depression, hyperactivity, learning disorders and behavioural problems can all be symptoms of an allergy. If you or a member of your family suffers from any of these symptoms, it could be due to something in the indoor environment. “Is This Your Child” by Dr Doris Rapp is a very good guide for detecting and treating allergies in children. Dr Rapp is an expert on child allergies and has written several books on the subject, see www.drrapp.com
The explosion in rates of asthma and allergy illnesses of the respiratory system in our younger population is related to air quality and lasts a lifetime.
Numerous home ventilation products, dehumidifiers, and aerosol detergent products claim to control visible and invisible indoor Condensation, Humidity, Mould, Fungi, Dust Mites and Stale Air. Their precisely worded claims may have a degree of correctness, (they may even control or eliminate condensation) — but solving one problem by creating another is not a real solution.
IAQ is much more complicated and serious than just controlling condensation.
The air that our lungs respire approximately 22000 times every day weighs about 7kg, the food we eat weighs approximately 2kg. If you believe that the food and drink we consume affects our health, then the same logic must apply to the air that we breathe.
Sporadic information, via the news media, by experts on individual subjects often confuses the public. For example the “fact” that dust mites cause asthma. An asthmatic may be equally as allergic to formaldehyde that leaches from kitchen and bathroom joinery as dust mite allergens.
No one item is the sole problem.
An unhealthy indoor environment has numerous causes, some common factors are…
- Modern homes are designed to be sealed until almost airtight.
- The materials used in modern construction contain literally thousands of chemicals dangerous to humans. Almost all have a direct relationship to petro chemicals, which are proven carcinogens.
- When humans live in a “sealed up” home, contaminants accumulate — excess moisture from breathing and normal activities, low oxygen – high CO2 levels, cause an environment where dust mites proliferate.
To appreciate just how dangerous the indoor environment in a home can become, refer to our “links” section.
Humidity, dust mite allergens, mould, fungi and volatile organic compounds are the major health risks related to Indoor Air Quality.
— The solution is so very simple : Ventilation with FRESH OUTDOOR AIR. —
There is no better therapy for human lungs and healthy body system function than clean fresh outdoor air.
We are fortunate in New Zealand and Australia, that for most residential purposes, our outdoor air quality is suitable for indoor environment ventilation.
To design for indoor ventilation with an air source other than from outdoors, is to ensure that unseen contaminants very much worse than those which are thought to be the problem are introduced into living spaces of residences.
In New Zealand, Outdoor Air is specified as the only source for Ventilation Air by Government Regulation
Residential IAQ problems are not confined to NZ and Australia. There are similar problems in all westernised countries where climates are similar to our own. Technical comments about climatic differences in USA Europe, Canada, Australia etc are irrelevant in the context of the overall picture of the need for a healthy indoor environment.