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I NDOOR A IR Q UALITY Presented by Team Winaught.

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1 I NDOOR A IR Q UALITY Presented by Team Winaught

2 Air pollution tends to be considered an exclusively outdoors problem. While it is true that preserving the atmosphere is important to our health, indoor air quality (IAQ) is another crucial factor to our well being that is easily overlooked. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, average Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, where the pollutants' concentration are often 2 to 5 times as high as outside levels. As a result, knowledge of IAQ is crucial in keeping your body comfortable and healthy. This presentation will address common pollutants, causes and effects of poor IAQ, and ways you can improve IAQ in your home.


4 Common indoor air pollutants include: Carbon monoxide (CO) Carbon dioxide (CO2) Particulate matter (PM) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Lead (Pb) Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) Radon (Rn) Asbestos Biological pollutants Higher concentration of any of these pollutants naturally leads to a less healthy environment.

5 This presentation will focus on carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by combustion that is deadly in higher concentrations. Carbon dioxide is a gas produced by living things and can accumulate to harmful levels without adequate ventilation. Particulate matter is a mixture of microscopic liquids and gases. Small particulate matter can enter the lungs and cause damage. Volatile organic compounds are gases with have adverse health effects and are given off by a variety of substances including paint and cleaning products.

6 Normal/healthy indoor levels for each of the pollutants are: CO: 70 ppm and under CO2: 1000 ppm and under PM: as little as possible; outdoors standards are 35 μg/m3 for PM 2.5 (2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller) and 150 μg/m3 for PM 10 (2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers) VOCs: as little as possible However, keep in mind that people with different health conditions will have different levels of tolerance.

7 W HAT CAN CAUSE POOR IAQ? Poor IAQ occurs when high levels of the previously mentioned pollutants are present. Here are some sources of CO, CO2, PM, and VOCs in homes.

8 Carbon monoxide is commonly produced when material is burned. In homes, the following are common sources of CO: furnaces motor vehicles gas or kerosene space heaters boilers gas cooking stoves water heaters clothes dryers fireplaces charcoal grills wood stoves lawn mowers power generators camp stoves

9 Carbon dioxide is both naturally produced and created with human activities. The following are common sources of indoor CO2: breathing burning gasoline, coal, or wood

10 Particulate matter 10 micrometers and smaller are able to easily be inhaled and thus affect the body negatively. Sources of PM that may be found in homes include the following: smoke vehicle exhaust

11 Volatile organic compounds are used in a variety of products that we use every day. Common sources in homes include the following: Paints Air fresheners Interiors of new cars Cosmetics Vehicle exhaust Cooking Cleaning and disinfecting products Smoking Varnishes

12 W HAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF POOR IAQ? Poor IAQ has many negative health effects. The severity of the effects vary due to the amount of time of exposure as well as the concentration and types of the pollutants present.

13 Carbon monoxide is poisonous because it reduces the amount of oxygen delivery to organs and tissues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 1999– 2010, a total of 5,149 deaths from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the United States, an average of 430 deaths per year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission... Low to moderate CO poisoning has the following symptoms: Headache Fatigue Shortness of breath Nausea Dizziness High level CO poisoning has the following symptoms: Mental confusion Vomiting Loss of muscular coordination Loss of consciousness Ultimately death

14 Carbon dioxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is safe in low levels, as it is naturally produced by humans and other organisms. Although dangerously high CO2 levels are uncommon, relatively high amounts of it indicate inadequate ventilation, which is another issue in itself. High concentrations due to insufficient ventilation can cause the following, according to the Minnesota Department of Health: headache dizziness nausea asphyxiation (in extremely high concentrations)

15 Particulate matter is composed of the microscopic particles in the air that can be bad for your health, both in the long and short terms. Size of the particles determines the level of damage. Only particles less than 10 micrometers can be inhaled and enter the lungs and bloodstream. The Environmental Protection Agency lists the following as effects of particulate matter pollution: premature death in people with heart or lung disease nonfatal heart attacks irregular heartbeat aggravated asthma decreased lung function increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing

16 Volatile organic compounds include a variety of gases, so the details of their effects can vary. Some VOCs have odors, though the presence or lack of odors does not necessarily change the toxicity. The Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Department of Health lists the following as general effects of VOC exposure: Effects of short term exposure eye and respiratory tract irritation headaches dizziness visual disorders memory impairment Effects of long term exposure Cancer Liver damage Kidney damage Central Nervous System damage

17 H OW CAN I IMPROVE IAQ IN MY HOME ? There are many things you can do to improve the IAQ in your home and keep you and your loved ones healthy.

18 The three main ways are through ventilation, prevention, and removal. Ventilation: A constant flow of air into and out of rooms can prevent the accumulation of pollutants. Keep ventilation systems running and leave doors and windows open when conditions allow for best circulation. Prevention: Avoid excessive amounts of the behaviors listed as causes of poor IAQ. In particular, idling your car contributes greatly to the concentration of carbon monoxide and VOCs in the air. Try not to idle cars for longer than thirty seconds, if at all. Removal: Moving away the sources of pollutants previously listed can improve your air quality. For example, paint and fuels such as gasoline release toxic vapors. Place them away from living areas or remove them altogether.


20 There's so much more information out there on indoor air quality! Here are a few suggested sites, many of which we used for research: Our own website containing easy to understand basic IAQ information, IAQ and You: The EPA's detailed introduction to IAQ, mostly in homes: Occupational Safety & Health Administration's pages that focus on IAQ in workplaces: The Minnesota Department of Health's website that covers the health effects of various pollutants: The American Lung Association's page on IAQ: atlantic/air-quality/indoor-air-quality.html atlantic/air-quality/indoor-air-quality.html

21 Thanks for reading! We hope you learned something new! Presented by Team Winaught To learn more, check out our website,

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