ENVIRONMENTAL
INITIATIVE

Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor Air Pollution

Learn about indoor air pollution, why indoor air quality is important, and find actionable indoor air pollution reduction initiatives you can implement at your home or business to improve your health, save money, and reduce your eco and carbon footprints.

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What is Indoor Air Pollution?

Indoor air pollution refers to the air quality within all of our buildings, controlling the indoor pollutants, and the health impacts to building occupants from indoor pollutants.  It can also encompass the level of individual control occupants have on their indoor environment. 

Indoor air pollutants can include carbon monoxide and particulates from food preparation, tobacco smoke, pesticides, lead, asbestos, pet dander, mold, ozone from cleaners, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced from indoor-use products and building materials.

In sustainability, indoor air pollution is to be eliminated so there are no instances of sick building syndrome, from headaches to heart disease. In this initiative, I will focus mostly on pollutants produced by ozone and VOCs from cleaning products, other indoor-use products, and building materials.

However, all residential and commercial buildings should try to eliminate all types of indoor air pollution through any means necessary for the best indoor air quality.

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?

According to the EPA, humans spend 90% of their time indoors. Studies have found that over 2 million deaths occur each year due to indoor pollutants.  Additionally, there are many less severe medical conditions that are produced from poor indoor air quality.

When indoor spaces are not ventilated properly, or toxic cleaning or building products are used, the instances human health issues are well documented. When people fall ill, or worse, this can increase financial costs to individuals and businesses in the form of employees missing work, medical bills, and increased insurance costs, to name a few. This does not include, of course, the mental and psychological distress involved. 

As you can see, when the indoor environment is negatively impacted by indoor air pollution, it has negative impacts on our society and economy. It’s a viscous cycle that will not end until we reduce, and eventually end, our use of toxic chemicals and building products, and provide higher quality working conditions and building design.  

How To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

There are many benefits to eliminating indoor air pollution.  The good news is that there are ways you can help now. From little to big methods of change, when implemented individually they will accumulate for major, positive results towards reducing our negative health impacts, which will, in turn, will reduce negative impacts to our well-being and finances.

Many of these day-to-day changes are easy to do.  They involve simple, purchase habit changes or changing the products you use, or both. 

These can be done in different levels, if you will – from the easiest “low hanging fruit” methods (see lighter-colored boxes below), to more complex or up-front-cost methods, (see darker-colored boxes below) that may have long-term health benefits and financial savings. If you want more tips and ideas, check out the Indoor Air Quality blog posts that are continually added for your convenience.

In any case, I encourage you to review these initiatives, pick some, and take the Indoor Air Quality Challenge below!

Indoor Air Pollution Reduction Initiatives:
How and Why

Quit smoking

Secondhand smoke, also called “environmental tobacco smoke” (ETS) collects indoors in buildings, cars and other enclosures that carry carcinogens that cause health problems, even death.

Benefits:

Create a healthy life for yourself and those you share indoor spaces with by quitting smoking or not smoking inside. Eliminating secondhand smoke would eliminate the billions of dollars in medical costs spent in the U.S.
Read More >

Contact your legislators

Contact your local and state government representatives to demand better product manufacturing policies and regulations and better building codes.

Benefits:

When government provides policies, regulations and programs to the public, we all win in more choices for sustainability products and reduce our impact on climate change.
Read More >

Say NO to chlorine bleach

Use only chlorine-free or oxygen bleach instead. They work just as well for cleaning and washing clothes without harming your health.

Benefits:

Chlorine bleach is toxic. It releases harmful gases into the air and toxins into our water ways. It causes harmful health issues and it not worth using. Protect yourself and the environment with a healthier alternative.
Read More >

Say NO to phosphates

Use natural products, like vinegar and baking soda, or environmentally-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products to protect your health.

Benefits:

Phosphates can be harmful to human health and create algae blooms in waterways which can kill ecosystems. Phosphate-based cleaners are not worth using. Protect yourself and the environment with a healthier alternative.
Read More >

Change HVAC air filters

Change out HVAC filters yearly for all-around benefits.

Benefits:

Fresh air filters not only protect human health for poor indoor air quality, they also prolong the life of your HVAC system and save on energy bills. Triple win!
Read More >

Use safe home building products

When building or remodeling, look for the environmentally-friendly product certifications.

Benefits:

A lot of flooring, carpets, furniture fabrics, paints, solvents and sealers contain chemicals harmful to human and our environmental health. Be a conscious consumer when making these product choices for your indoor environment.
Read More >

Make informed choices

Vote with your dollars" on what products are, or are not, sustainable. If you didn't buy it, they wouldn't make it!

Benefits:

Your purchasing dollars speak to all businesses. When you vote with your dollars, like not buying cleaners and cleansers that are harmful to the environment, you make the change towards better environmental, social and economic health.
Read More >

Use an air purifier

HEPA air purifiers can remove harmful particle pollutants like exhausts, dust and bacteria and improve your indoor air quality.

Benefits:

Prevent health issues and offset possible medical costs with the purchase of a HEPA air purifier. Check ENERGY STAR certified purifiers to also save energy and get a possible rebate.
Read More >

Present ballot measures

Don't think your local or state regulations are enough for protecting our environment? Present your ballot measure!

Benefits:

Worth the time, your own ballot measure could promote sustainable business practices and increased safety in product manufacturing in your next election benefiting all for a long time to come.
Read More >

Take the "Indoor Air Quality Challenge"!

Take the CORR Concepts “Indoor Air Quality Challenge” by doing:

1. Take the pledge to eliminate all indoor smoking or quit smoking.

2. Pick at least one more of the Indoor Air Pollution Reduction Initiatives and implement them into your everyday life. Periodically, go back to remeasure your Ecological and/or Carbon Footprint to see if you’ve lowered your score. Keep adding more Indoor Air Pollution Reduction Initiatives to your daily life to keep reducing your footprint!

3. Share this webpage to at least one person so that the sustainability message will spread and enrich and benefit us all.

What are you waiting for?

Measure your Ecological Footprint

Measure your Carbon Footprint

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