From Dr. Mercola:
Your life depends on the air you breathe. Your body is so dependent on oxygen, you can go only three minutes without air. The quality of air you breathe affects your respiratory system and your overall health.
From several sociological studies, the amount of time the average person living in the U.S. spends inside has remained stable for a few decades.1 The data indicates that people who are employed in the U.S. spend 2 percent of their time outside, 6 percent in transit and 92 percent of their time indoors.
This means your indoor air quality is more important to your long-term health than the air you breathe outside. Interestingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states the levels of indoor air pollution can be between two and five times higher inside than they are outside.2
Some indoor pollutants can be as much as 100 times higher than outdoor levels. These differences are related to the type of pollution and the relative lack of air exchange in new energy efficient homes. According to the EPA, poor indoor air quality is one of the top risks to public health.3
What’s in the Air You Breathe?
The majority of air pollution is made of particulate matter, most measuring diameters not visible to the naked eye. Gases, droplets, particles and ground-level ozone comprise air pollution, both indoors and outdoors.4
Particulate matter, also called particle pollution, is a mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in the air. The mixture may contain inorganic and organic materials, such as:5
✓ Liquid droplets
The EPA believes the size of the particle has a direct link to the potential for health risks. Particles 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller can be inhaled, pass through the throat and nose and enter your lungs.
These particles may then trigger respiratory problems, worsen asthma, or may be broken down to pass through your lungs and into your blood where they can damage your heart and other organs.6
Many underestimate the amount of indoor pollution they breathe each day. Even small amounts of particulate pollution have an impact on your health. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no threshold identified in which no damage to your health is observed.7
Sources of Pollution at Home and at Work
Indoor pollution may come from several different sources, including furniture, cabinetry and pollution drawn inside through your ventilation system. High temperatures and increased humidity can concentrate some pollutants inside.
Materials used to construct the building you spend your time in, and the furnishings you use in the office and at home may release gasses containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), having both short- and long-term health effects.
The number of different housing products that release VOCs number in the thousands and include:8