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Importance of Indoor Air Quality

Having a buildup of mold inside a home or business can really alter the air quality for people that live and work there. Indoor air quality is an important, and often overlooked, component of safety and wellness. After all, the average person spends the majority of their time indoors, and we all need to breathe to live. Indoor air quality is a measure of the particles that make up the air we breathe, and can be used to study the possible effects on the people that spend their time in that space.

Different pollutants in the air negatively impact air quality. These pollutants include bacteria, ozone, radon, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds (also called VOCs), and mold spores. These invisible airborne pollutants can all effect people negatively. The bacteria can cause infections and illness. The different gases (radon, carbon monoxide and dioxide, and VOC’s) can damage the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. Many are also carcinogens, causing cancer after prolonged exposure.

Another extremely common pollutant in any home air supply is mold. Mold reproduces by releasing spores, and these spores can cause any number of  reactions in the human body. Mold can stress an asthma sufferer’s system enough to trigger an episode. It also can cause fungal infections and hypersensitivity. Some types of mold are also known to release toxins (called mycotoxins). These can cause neurological problems and even lead to death. Mold has also been known to cause allergic reactions.

For many of these household problems there are straightforward solutions. Introducing house plants can clean up many of these invisible threats. They can process the carbon dioxide and many of the harmful volatile organic compounds, removing them from the air and making a safer place to live and work. Other fix to indoor air quality issues is an intelligently designed HVAC system. These systems of heating and cooling are responsible for a lot of moisture and move particles into and out of our homes and businesses. These systems can use filters to clean air, replace polluted indoor air with fresher air from outdoors, and, in some cases, track the levels of certain harmful chemicals in the air. However, if these carefully calibrated systems leak or pump in too much moisture, they could just be making everything worse. Mold is the most difficult and invasive of these problems to eradicate. It can grow unnoticed and drastically change the quality of air. Mold grows only in moist environments, as it relies on water to grow and thrive. Mold is only completely destroyed by finding every bit of the mold infestation and removing it from the building structure. 

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