Friday, November 27, 2015

Ever thought about the air you breath…inside your Car?

When we think of indoor air quality we limit ourselves to homes and buildings. What we forget is that most American’s spend a significant amount of time in their cars. They use them to run errands such as getting groceries, going to and from work, appointments etc. Getting to and from destinations is a huge part of our lives. When we are in our cars we don’t think about the pollutants that our cars hold. Cars have very little space and they are very compact, the pollutants that the air conditioning systems sucks in from the outside can be dangerous. These include vehicle exhaust, road dust, greenhouse gases, cigarette smoke etc. The cleanliness of your car is very important because it can be overlooked. On rainy days mud and water can be tracked from your children's soccer game and this can be a pathway to mold and other toxic pollutants. Vacuuming your car frequently, airing it out while driving, using your air conditioning system as little as possible can all be ways to help decrease these pollutants. 

To learn more about the hidden dangers inside your car and to decrease the pollutants, visit the following sites;  

Air Quality and Student Performance

Indoor air quality is important wherever you go and it is especially important for places that you spend a lot of time like at home, work and school. Having poor indoor air quality in schools can affect student performance greatly but in subtle ways. Symptoms include coughing, eye irritation, headaches, allergic reactions, and most importantly it can cause asthma aggravation. One in thirteen students suffer from asthma and this is the leading cause to absenteeism which affects school performance. Evidence shows that there a lot of contributing factors to poor indoor air quality in schools, including the presence of pollutants for supplies, dust, exhaust from school buses, HVAC systems, etc. These factors paired with poor ventilation in schools contribute to poor concentration for students.

Learn More!

Ten things you should know about MOLD

Living in Portland, where it is notoriously known for long and wet winters, most people are aware of what mold is. Mold is one of the more commonly known indoor pollutant. But just in case you don’t know, here’s a quick overview. Mold is a result from dampness and residual water.  Most likely people don’t even know there is a problem until there are visible signs of water damage. Generally there are two ways that mold can enter your home without your knowledge, the first being an internal source like leaking water from pipes.  The second can be an external source comparable to rainwater. But the result is the same; dampness and wet areas. Damp areas become a problem when it effects different parts of the house like rugs, walls, and titles. When these area are effected for long periods of time, that’s when mold start to develop. Dampness is the leading source of where bacteria and fungus grow. What most people don’t realize is mold can destroy an entire house, especially if mold gets into the interior spaces where it can infect the insulation, then interior structure or even worse the foundation of the house could be destroyed. When you think about it that way then mold becomes a serious and scary pollutant.  And the worst part about it is mold can anywhere; outdoor and indoor.
There are ten things you should know about mold:

  1.       There are series health effects that are caused by mold, that include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory diseases.
  2.   There is no real way of eliminating mold spores once it’s containment an indoor space. Controlling moisture is the only real way to control mold.
  3.    If there is a leak, find and fix it!  
  4.   Heavily clean the affected area.
  5.  Find ways to reduce humidity, you can do this by venting your using air conditioners and de-humidifiers, Increasing ventilation with exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing and cleaning.
  6.    Clean and clean some more any areas that has been effected.
  7.   Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles that are moldy may need to be replaced.
  8.    Prevent condensation  by adding insulation
  9. With areas that might be potential dangers do not put carpeting or water sources, like fountains.
  10.  You can clean mold off with water, detergent and other soaps. But most importantly dry everything completely when you’re finished.

Mold can be easily prevented by just being aware of your surroundings. Be active and look around, your home could be in danger.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Climate Change: Indoor Effects?

The EPA has an interesting topic it's pursuing: how is rapid climate change effecting our indoor environments? 

Their concern? Our climate is rapidly changing due to pollution and environmental factors and our houses are built for a climate that no longer exists. If we want to improve our own health as well as take care of the environment, we're going to have to explore new ways of building and remodeling homes.

Problems climate change can cause according to the Institute of Medicine's research:

  • Increase in pests in areas previously unaffected - pests may migrate towards homes as a result of their natural habitat becoming inhospitable; more pests mean more use of harmful, air polluting pesticides
  • Extreme weather conditions - extreme waves of weather are becoming more common every year; extreme cold in an unprepared household can cause build up of moisture and mold, which decreases air quality. Extreme heat in an unprepared household can cause overheating, fires, and blackouts. Household appliances effected by these issues can contribute to reduced air quality.
  • Environmental wear on housing - the more extreme our environment becomes, the more it can wear on the very foundation of our homes. Houses that become worn down and develop more and more issues allow in more contaminates that effect air quality and the health of its occupants.

For the full report by the Institute of Medicine click HERE.