The Relationship Between Toxicology and Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality generally refers to the standard quality of indoor air in a building, and this is a problem which is regularly left overlooked. Many poor indoor air quality results from poor ventilation; this is one of the major causes of poor indoor air quality and poisoning. Indoor air quality is the quality of the air inside a building, whether it’s your home or office, or a place where you work or live. It is vital for people to know their indoor air quality to reduce the risk of breathing in toxins. Poor indoor air quality is also a leading cause of indoor air pollution, which is known as “the silent killer”. Poor indoor air quality is a leading cause of discomfort and health problems for employers and employees alike, and poor indoor air quality is a primary cause of many health problems.
As outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality is defined as the “number, kind, and concentration of airborne contaminants during a typical day”. This has caused a lot of research and testing regarding the best way to improve indoor air quality. There are many factors which contribute to poor indoor air quality, including things which occur naturally in most houses, such as dust and pollen. However, there are also factors which affect the quality of the air indoors in buildings such as poor maintenance of ventilation systems, construction materials used inside buildings, and heating and air conditioning systems which operate inefficiently or in poorly ventilated spaces.
One of the main problems with poor indoor air quality is that these compounds can form into compounds which can affect the human health of inhabitants. These compounds present significant risks to human health, and can even result in serious medical conditions, especially when these compounds become airborne. It has been proven that prolonged exposure to these chemicals can result in serious health complications. The effects of long-term indoor air pollution exposure have shown to be very detrimental to human health, particularly to individuals who suffer from chronic ailments. These include; lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The EPA recognizes the relationship between indoor air quality and the condition of the building materials used inside buildings. Particles present in building materials, especially dust, can easily become airborne and be carried through ventilation systems into indoor air quality systems. This means that buildings with older ventilation systems or buildings which have more open spaces than other buildings in a given area are at the highest risk of being contaminated with particulate matter. In addition to this, some construction materials are not easily removed from buildings for example steel gutters. Steel becomes a significant constituent of many building materials due to its high conductivity level, which allows it to easily conduct heat and makes it a good conductor of dust.
Due to these factors, there are many cases where HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) ducts are unable to remove particulate matter, which increases the amount of polluted indoor air quality. In these cases, it has been found that the lack of an efficient ventilation system or a heating and air conditioning system can greatly contribute to the air pollution problem inside buildings. Also, the combination of old construction materials, poor ventilation, outdated technology, poor energy efficiency, as well as older structures may also lead to indoor air quality problems.
Although toxicology is generally studied in laboratories, it has been found that long-term exposure to certain toxic substances such as formaldehyde can have detrimental health effects, especially to humans who have a weakened immunity system or who are already predisposed to developing diseases. The National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has stated that there is a relationship between toxicology and indoor air quality. Formaldehyde is one of the most common of all toxic substances.