The UltimateAir® News

So what’s all this talk about IAQ anyway?

Posted on Wed, Apr 21, 2010

Every day I am hearing more and more jargon and abbreviations for terms in the green industry – and although I want to learn more about how I can help myself and my family, it can be difficult making sense of it all. As I start my IAQ journey, the first step has to be understanding what the term IAQ even stands for, right?

So I decided to do some research of my own and really dig in to what Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is all about. I started on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s homepage, which is an INCREDIBLY helpful source of information on the subject (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/). What I learned first is that the term IAQ is relatively self-explanatory – it refers to the quality of the air within a building (how many pollutants are in that air), and how those contaminants in the air can affect the building’s occupants.

What I learned next made me cringe – there are contaminants in every home, old or new, and include anything that releases gases or particles into the air. According to the EPA, this can include combustion sources like gas, oil, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco products; building materials like insulation, damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of pressed wood; household cleaning products or any personal care products that release emissions; and of course any outdoor sources of pollution such as radon, pesticides, or anything else in the air. And this is just a small list of examples. I guess what surprised me the most was that many of these items are items that I voluntarily bring in to the house! Sure there’s not much I can do to keep cabinet makers from using boards made with formaldehyde, but do I really need to expose my family to all these other toxins? And why do I feel so “dirty” as I’m writing this?

The scariest part is that most of us ignore the idea of indoor air quality because let’s face it, it’s easy to ignore (remember the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind?’) But when it comes down to it, how do we (yes I’m guilty) ignore something that affects our health so dramatically? We spend countless hours in our homes, so how do we let ourselves be constantly surrounded by pollution and do nothing about it? And how do I not know more about the air I breathe?

This is all pretty scary stuff – I’m starting to wonder how much I really want to know! But I am determined to keep learning about IAQ and make sure I’m informed on how the air we breathe affects me and my family. I will keep updating you as I learn more, and in the meantime please check out the UltimateAir Facebook page for recent news and events - http://www.facebook.com/pages/UltimateAir/354807264840