Indoor Air Quality and Health

Blond girl blowing her nose

According the to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

  • Americans, on average, spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.
  • People who are often most susceptible to the adverse effects of pollution (e.g., the very young, older adults, people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease) tend to spend even more time indoors.
  • Indoor health has gotten worse  in recent decades as concentrations of some pollutants have increased due to such factors as energy-efficient building construction (when it lacks sufficient mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange) and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners.
  • Health effects associated with indoor air pollutants include:  
    • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
    • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
    • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.
  • In  schools, improving indoor air quality can  
    • reduce absenteeism
    • improve students' test scores
    • improve teacher performance and retention rates

    [Source] 

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,

In the workplace

  • Performance may be improved possibly as much as 10% by providing superior indoor environmental quality (IEQ).
  • Workers in offices with clean air make better decisions and fewer errors than workers in polluted offices. 
  • Cost-benefit analyses indicate that benefits of improving the work environment may exceed costs by a factor of 10 or more. [Source]

In schools

  • Concentrations of allergens in the dust of classrooms often exceed the levels associated with development of allergies.
  • Concentrations of particles in the air within schools are often well above health-based guidelines for particle concentrations in outdoor air.
  • Carbon dioxide surveys in schools indicate a widespread failure to provide the minimum amount of ventilation specified in standards for classrooms. [Source]

To learn more about air filtration standards, please visit

ASHRAE logo

ASHRAE

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers

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NAFA

National Air Filtration Association