What is Indoor Air Quality?

Harriette Halepis

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a popular term that refers to the quality of air inside a building. Air quality inside of buildings has become increasingly important, since a buildings' inhabitants can suffer medical ailments as a result of poor air. Inadequate indoor air quality can be caused by a number of different things.

An air filter used to improve indoor air quality.
An air filter used to improve indoor air quality.

Radon is one of the biggest culprits of negative air quality. This odorless, colorless, and highly toxic gas is caused from the deterioration of radium. Radium can usually be found inside of a building's pipes, though it can also come from rocky ground beneath a building. Radon can cause lung cancer, and it kills thousands of people every year.

Radon can enter a home, usually from somewhere near the foundation of the house, such as a basement.
Radon can enter a home, usually from somewhere near the foundation of the house, such as a basement.

While radon can be easily detected by installing radon kits inside of buildings, building owners rarely check for this harmful gas. Radon can be eliminated by sealing concrete floors, increasing ventilation, and checking water draining systems. Aside from radon, mold and other types of allergens may contribute to bad indoor air quality.

Molds and allergens can be caused by many different things, though the most common causes are moisture induced mold, and animal or plant induced allergens. Mold can grow in high moisture areas with poor ventilation. Mold can grow inside of walls, or on the outside of any wall. In order to test for mold growth, a mold inspection should be administered by an independent inspection company.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are another reason why many people suffer from poor indoor air quality. VOCs can come from a variety of sources including paint, wallpaper, cleaning supplies, building materials, furniture, and many other materials. These compounds are both colorless and odorless, though they will contribute to respiratory problems if they are present within a building.

The reasons for inadequate indoor air quality mentioned above are just some of the things that contribute to dangerous air. However, the only way that a building can be tested for air quality is through specific testing measures. If you suspect that a building you live or work in is contributing to your poor health, make sure to call professional indoor air quality testers.

It is not recommended that you allow a building owner to hire a professional. Instead, in order to avoid conflict of interest, call an independent expert. Once you have obtained testing results, you can contact a building owner in order to have a harmful gas, or other substance, removed.

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