Drive behind a truck on the interstate that burps out a cloud of thick
black exhaust and you instantly identify it: air pollution.
Pass a factory with smokestacks billowing dark gray
smoke into the sky and you see contaminants being released into the air.
But have you even considered the air inside your
own home? Sobering studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency show that "Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than
outdoor air." It's no surprise, then, that the Environmental
Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution as a high public health
Just how did
we get here?
The energy crisis of the 1970s called for new
building codes that allowed for decreased air movement per person, per
changing from 15 cubic feet to 3 cubic feet. The end
result was a more energy and cost efficient home. Today, we
realize that these tighter building and remodeling practices have left
us with a polluted, toxic indoor living environment, often referred to
as "Sick Home Syndrome."
How do I
contribute to this problem?
Many indoor pollutants come from material used in
the construction process or from furnishings and chemicals brought into
the home. What's more, everyday living adds to the problem:
showering, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and vacuuming; using
hairspray, nail polish, paint; even petting the family dog
leads to a more polluted indoor environment, as these toxins have no way
to escape the home.
According to the EPA, moisture is a key ingredient
to indoor pollution, which is generated by some of these everyday
activities, such as showering and cooking. Three major issues
present in today's energy efficient homes magnify the moisture problem:
- Tighter homes do not provide an escape route
for the moisture
- The resulting buildup of excess moisture
leads to dangerous mold growth
- Homes lack proper ventilation, so we
constantly breathe in the same stale air
Deadly. We've read news articles and seen TV reports about the
dangers of toxic mold
— and the growing number of lawsuits based on
property damage and illness caused by the fungus.
The reality is that mold
poses a threat to all of us. From costly insurance premiums to
asthma and other respiratory ailments, mold is a growing problem
that can be controlled by eliminating its source: excess moisture.