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Indoor Air Quality  Epidemic

InhalerAlarming Indicators:

  • Asthma cases have increased by more than 100% since 1976. About 1 in 9 children now have asthma. (See Asthma Fact Sheet.)
  • Death rates due to asthma have tripled, and quintupled in children ages 5 to 9, since 1976.
  • Hospitalization rates and doctor visits are continuing to increase dramatically.


How do we know that indoor air allergens and contaminates are the main culprit?

These changes (for the worse) in the population's defense to asthma cannot be a result of genetic or internal (to the human body) causes. Our genetical composition could never change so suddenly.

Therefore, it is the environment in which we breathe that must have changed (for the worse), and there is plenty of evidence that tells us it has. Plus, we also know that it is airborne pollutants and elements that usually cause asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. (Read: Worsening Indoor Air Quality linked with increases in asthma problems.)

SmokestackMost people believe it is the air outdoors that presents us (particularly those most sensitive to unhealthy air) with the greatest risk. However, it is actually the air inside our homes, schools, and other buildings that is most harmful.

Why indoor air is much more harmful than outdoor air:

  • According to the American College of Allergies, 50% of all illness is aggravated or caused by polluted indoor air.
  • To begin with, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) themselves declare that indoor air is anywhere from 2 to 10 times more hazardous than outdoor air.
  • The EPA also warns us that the indoor air quality epidemic is the nation's number one environmental health problem.
  • Today's homes and buildings are built air-tight, with energy-efficiency in mind, as a result of the energy crisis of the 1970s. Their air-tight construction keep airborne pollutants trapped inside, and nature's air-cleansing agents outside. Is it any wonder that statistics for asthma problems began rising sharply around the same time that homes and buildings began to be built this way?
  • In fact, a recent study found that the allergen level in super-insulated homes is 200% higher than it is in ordinary homes.
  • Plus, according to Scientific America, a baby crawling on the floor inhales the equivalent of 4 cigarettes a day, as a result of the outgassing of carpets, molds, mildews, fungi, dust mites, etc.
    Dangers of being indoors
  • Most people spend well over 90% of their time inside. In which case, indoor air is going to impact our health far more than outdoor air.

Still believe you are not affected by the indoor air quality epidemic?

Virtually everyone is affected, especially asthmatics and others who are particularly sensitive to allergens and contaminates in the air.

Keep in mind that no home or building is immune to the indoor air quality epidemic.

To begin with, the EPA informs us that 6 out of 10 homes and buildings are "sick", meaning they are hazardous to your health to occupy as a result of airborne pollutants.

Even the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) very own headquarters, constructed a few years ago, was determined to be "sick". Many EPA employees could not work inside the building without becoming sick. If the headquarters of the EPA can fall victim to the indoor air quality epidemic, the very government agency that is charged with finding solutions to this problem, then any home or building can be afflicted.

In fact, every home and building is affected by the indoor air quality epidemic to one degree or another, regardless of how clean it may appear. Every home is filled with prime sources that contribute to mass quanities of airborne allergens and contaminates.

For instance, if your home looks really clean, you should ask yourself how it became that way. Did you use aerosols, floor and/or furniture polish, bleach, amonia, bathroom cleaners, etc.? If so, these products emit harmful chemical vapors into the air.

Most homes or buildings also have carpet, painted walls, chemically-treated furnishings, dust, insects, moist or damp things, food people, and . . . People?! Yes, humans shed more than just about any other animal, but our skin flakes are small enough to float in the air, and are consequently inhaled by anyone who enters a room.

As a graphic example, about 80% of what you see floating in a ray of sunshine entering your home through a window is dead human skin!

This is not to mention other sources of airborne pollutants that we may bring indoors, such as cigarette smoke and pets. Even if you eliminate or prohibit a certain source of indoor air pollution from your home, such as pets, you may still be affected.

For instance, a recent study conducted in Philadelphia tested a random sample of homes for the number one allergy trigger: cat dander. Out of all the homes tested, 100% were found to contain cat dander, despite the fact that many of these homes did not have a cat.

Increased ventilation is not the answer. a group of scientists recently discovered that increasing ventilation in a building did not reduce the number of symptoms.

Asthma Checklist:
27 tips for controlling your asthma by controlling your environment.

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