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Indoor Air Quality Facts & Statistics

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The Truth About The Air We Breathe

Misunderstandings about indoor air quality (IAQ) lead many homeowners to believe that contaminated air inside their homes is caused by outdoor air pollution. The majority of us are under the impression that outdoor factors like industrial pollution and hazardous chemicals make outdoor air much poorer than that in our homes. The air we breathe inside our houses, however, may be more hazardous to our health and up to 10 times more polluted. 

Mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust, toxic fuels, pet dander, airborne pathogens, dust mites and fungi are common contaminants found indoors. Since the 70s, homes have been built tighter, leading to better energy efficiency but an increase in indoor air pollution. The number of fresh air exchanges per hour is reduced significantly in modern homes. This means a build-up of pollutants in the airspace and greater health hazards for everyone inside the home. It’s important to stay informed about indoor air quality so you can make the best decisions for your South Carolina Metro Area home. Keep reading for facts and statistics then give us a call at 843-706-5090 to find the IAQ solution that works for you!

Numbers Every Homeowner Should Know  

  • Nearly 99 percent of people worldwide breathe severely polluted air.

According to the World Health Organization, the air that most people breathe threatens their health and is well below the standards for acceptable quality. As of April 2022, more than 6000 cities monitor air quality in an effort to improve safety. Even in these cities, though, people still breathe in contaminants and dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide. 

  • HEPA filters can remove 99.97 percent of airborne particles.

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can improve indoor air quality by eliminating particles that are 0.3 microns. This includes common household pollutants, like dust, mold, pollen and bacteria. Installing air filters is one of the quickest ways to greatly improve the air quality in your home. 

  • Nearly 2.4 billion people worldwide cause pollution while cooking.

Preparing food with solid fuels like wood and charcoal, or with kerosene on an open flame can be convenient but toxic. Inadequate ventilation systems coupled with poor indoor air quality in residential settings can lead to 100 times the smoke level as normal, according to the WHO. As of 2022, the vast majority of these 2.4 billion individuals lack access to clean cooking fuels. 

  • The use of polluting fuels for cooking is on the decline.

New data from the Global Health Observatory shows a hopeful, gradual decline in the number of people worldwide who use polluting fuels for food preparation. In 1990 more than half the population relied on these fuels, whereas only 36 percent did in 2020. Innovative energy production and better access to sustainable resources has played a big role in reducing this statistic and improving air quality for everyone. 

  • Air pollution is associated with nearly 7 million deaths worldwide each year.

According to the WHO, the negative effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution together can cause major health impacts for individuals worldwide. Breathing polluted air can lead to chronic illnesses, respiratory infections, heart problems and even premature death. 

  • Smoke from inefficient cooking has led to about 3.8 million deaths.

Inhaling smoke from cooking fires can be very dangerous, especially if there is not a proper ventilation system in a home. Kitchen smoke inhalation in particular can lead to pneumonia, stroke, heart disease, COPD and lung cancer, per the WHO. 

  • 3.2 million people die each year from illnesses associated with poor IAQ

The WHO cites that some 3.2 million people die each year from illnesses contracted after prolonged exposure to poor indoor air. The lower the quality and the longer the exposure, the greater the chance of becoming ill. Most commonly, individuals suffer from ischaemic heart disease, stroke, respireatory infections, COPD, and lung cancer. Most commonly affected are women, children and low-income households. 

  • 44 percent of pneumonia-related death in children under 5 are caused by poor IAQ

When children are exposed to polluted household air, their risk of developing lower respiratory infections is nearly double. Children under 5 are especially vulnerable to the effects of inhaling particulate matter (soot) and other airborne contaminants, according to the WHO. Reducing the number of harmful pollutants in indoor air can drastically reduce the chances of a child developing a potentially fatal infection. 

Your Trusted Indoor Air Experts

While some statistics about indoor air quality may be discouraging, it’s important to be educated on the importance of removing airborne contaminants from your home whenever possible. Change begins with awareness, education and individual action. We’re here to help you make positive changes to your home’s air quality so you and your family can breathe cleaner, healthier air. 

We offer full-scale ductwork services like repairs, replacements, and sealing to keep your home as contaminant-free as possible. Keeping your ductwork clean is another way to ensure only clean air is dispersed throughout your home. When you’re ready to take control over your household air and enjoy greater comfort, you can count on the experts at R.S. Andrews near Bluffton, SC. Call us today to schedule service at 843-706-5090 !