Indoor Air Quality & Healthy Homes
What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
Indoor air quality (also called “indoor environmental quality”) describes how inside air can affect a person’s health, comfort, and ability to work. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. In addition, it can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue. People who already have lung disease are at greater risk.
Indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels
– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
What are the most common causes of poor IAQ?
- Not enough ventilation or lack of fresh outdoor air
- Contaminated outdoor air
- Poor upkeep of ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems
- Dampness and moisture damage due to leaks, flooding or high humidity
- Occupant activities, such as construction or remodeling
- Indoor and outdoor contaminated air
What are some specific hazards in my home? (Click for more information)
- Carbon Monoxide
- Cleaning Products
- Combustion Products
- Consumer Products
- Environmental Tobacco Smoke
- Volatile Organic Compounds
What are the health effects of poor IAQ?
Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants. Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.
Are my children at risk?
Children are at a higher risk of the negative health effects of poor indoor air quality due to their unique activity patterns and behavior, physiological differences, and windows of susceptibility during early life stages. More information here.
Children are dependent upon adults to ensure that their environment is safe. Here are some tips to protect your children from common IAQ hazards.
Does your child suffer from Asthma? Poor IAQ can have a greater adverse effect on your child. Learn more here.
Where can I find more information on how to protect my family?
- IAQ in Alaska Native Villages
- EPA’s IAQ Website
- ANTHC’s Air Quality Page
- CDC’s Healthy Homes Page
- ITEP’s IAQ in Tribal Communities
- EPA’s A View Indoors
- American Lung Association’s IAQ Website
- OSHA Safety and Health: IAQ
- National Institutes of Health Medline Plus: IAQ
More Questions? Want to test your home’s indoor air this summer?
Chickaloon Village Traditional Council
Environmental Stewardship Department
P.O. Box 1105
Chickaloon, AK 99674