Most people are well aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health, but many are not aware of the serious harm that indoor air pollution, or contamination, can also cause. In industrialized nations, people now spend over 90% of their time inside. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that indoor levels of some pollutants are more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels, ranking indoor air contamination among the top four environmental health risks to the public. This risk is even higher for infants, the elderly, and people with underlying chronic diseases.
In this first installment of a year-long IAQ column, we should begin by surveying the stakes and the enemies.