What is Indoor Air Quality?

Information about contaminants that can affect indoor air and their affects on people

Indoor Air Quality (or IAQ) refers to the quality of the air within and around buildings and structures. The measurement of quality relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. The harmful substances that reduce the quality of the air are often called indoor air pollutants or indoor contaminants.

Human response to indoor air pollution varies depending on the person. Those with existing health conditions or those who have undeveloped or weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to poor indoor environmental conditions. These persons include those under the following demographics:

  • Allergy sufferers – over 50% of the population
  • Senior citizens – 13% of the population
  • Children – Over 10% of the population
  • Asthma sufferers – nearly 9% of the population
  • Those living with or recovering from cancer – nearly 5% of the population
  • Depression or severe mental illness sufferers – nearly 5% of the population
  • Those living with or recovering from HIV/AIDS – over 0.5% of the population

Even though the above mentioned demographics are at a greater risk of an adverse health reaction from exposure to indoor air pollution, the entire population can be affected by indoor contaminants. Sensitive demographics can experience health effects from any level of exposure to indoor contaminants (low to high). While adults age 24-45 without allergies, asthma or health conditions are considered to be in excellent health, exposure to elevated levels of any harmful contaminant can result in negative changes to their health. In the right conditions, these changes can be rapid.

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