As we covered in a recent blog post, air quality testing is important for many reasons, including improving health and reducing work absences. However, the past year’s events have revealed even more critical health-related reasons to know what’s in your indoor air. In addition to threats from allergens and bacteria, dangerous airborne viruses like COVID-19 can lurk in your environment, increasing the risk of disease spread and other health consequences.
In this article, we’ll cover more about how poor air quality affects your health and summarize a few types of air quality testing to protect yourself and those around you in 2021.
How Poor Air Quality Affects Your Health
Indoor air testing helps diagnose the causes of poor air quality that can affect your health in the following ways:
Infectious Disease Spread
When a person sneezes or coughs, they release tiny water or mucous droplets filled with viruses and bacteria into the air. Inhaling airborne viruses or bacteria can spread coughs, colds, influenza, COVID-19, and other infectious diseases. Congested indoor environments and poor air circulation are a couple of the factors that can promote the spread of diseases. This might in turn cause strain on medical services as there could be an increase in people who may need a rapid antigen test and lateral flow kits. Viruses and bacteria thrive in these conditions and circulate through poorly maintained ventilation systems, creating unhealthy spaces.
Adverse Irritant Effects
Whether in response to a single or repeated exposure to an indoor air pollutant, some people may experience irritation of the eyes, throat, or nose. Other common irritant effects of poor air quality include headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Experts aren’t sure why some people experience these effects more than others. Still, they have identified a few factors that influence the likelihood of these responses, including age, preexisting medical conditions, and individual sensitivity.
Long-term Health Conditions
When repeatedly exposed to a harmful indoor air quality pollutant, some people may be at risk for developing long-term health conditions that can be debilitating or fatal, such as respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer. The risk of these severe health conditions even further highlights the need for indoor air quality testing to identify and remove damage-causing pollutants before they harm.
Health Benefits of Indoor Air Quality Testing
In 2021 and beyond, Indoor air quality testing will likely play a more significant role as businesses and families strive to create safer and healthier indoor environments.
The following are just a few of the health benefits of testing your air:
- Prevent infectious disease spread
- Reduce eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Minimize other debilitating and fatal health effects of short- and long-term pollutant exposure
Indoor air quality testing leads to cleaner air that everyone can enjoy, reducing work absence rates, increasing comfort, and boosting performance and productivity levels.
Types of Indoor Air Quality Testing to Consider
Air quality testing can help you identify and resolve factors that can affect your health, including high humidity, mold, dirty HVAC systems, volatile organic chemicals, and inadequate ventilation.
The following are a few essential air quality tests to consider:
- Relative humidity (RH) testing – Measures the amount of water vapor in the air, commonly from concrete in commercial spaces. Too much moisture can cause microbial growth and increase the adverse health effects for the building’s occupants.
- Air velocity testing – Measures the air speed in an indoor environment that can cause the space to feel stuffy, drafty, or uncomfortable. Unhealthy air velocity can impact thermal comfort and weaken the immune system, promoting a slew of adverse health reactions.
- Carbon monoxide testing – Detects the odorless, colorless, and tasteless contaminate that can have severe health consequences for some people, from chest pain and impaired vision to brain damage and death.
- Carbon dioxide testing – Tests for a buildup of carbon dioxide in your space, a sign of poor ventilation. The EPA and other health experts have identified that well-ventilated indoor areas are critical for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
- Formaldehyde testing – Looks for the pungent gas called formaldehyde that can lead to many adverse health effects, such as irritation, allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and cancer. This type of air quality testing is critical in manufacturing facilities.
- Particulate testing – Measures particulate matter (PM) suspended in the air that can affect the respiratory, cardiovascular, and other body systems. Including this test can help identify whether you could benefit from increased filtration through your HVAC system.
If you’d like to learn more about these different types of air quality testing, head to our blog to check out the full article.
Perhaps more than any other time, air quality testing is vital for promoting safe environments and good health. With over 30 years of experience, our indoor air quality experts are dedicated to helping Lehigh Valley residents, businesses, and medical facilities improve air quality and well-being. Contact us to learn more.