According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors,where the concentrations of some pollutants are up to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Indoor air quality is considered one of the top five environmental risks to health! When you consider the simple fact we spend far more time inside than out, it makes sense to seriously consider what the quality of our indoor air is like. To that end, we'll take a look at various contaminants that are common in indoor air, and what you can do about some of them.
Let's break down a list of indoor pollutants and their sources into two categories: solids, and liquids/gasses.
Airborne articles, no matter how small, can represent a health hazard, particularly to those with conditions like asthma or seasonal allergies. The good news is that many of these particles can settle out of the air to be gathered with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, or an air purifier with a HEPA filter can readily remove them. Here's a list of airborne solids provided by the EPA:
To reduce exposure to contaminants that are in gas form, your best options involve reducing the source of the gas and ventilating your indoor space with fresh air. Air purifiers that have an activated carbon filter in them can be effective at removing VOCs. Most buildings can at least be ventilated by opening a window or door, or more actively with blowers and vents. The EPA recommends 0.35 air changes per hour but not less than 15 cubic feet of air per minute per person.
Prior to the development of automated airborne particle samplers by Pollen Sense, the ready detection of pollen grains, mold spores and parts, and inorganics like silicates and dust was only performed manually. Technicians trained to identify these particles would sample the air for a day by exposing a sticky microslope slide to a stream of air. After 24 hours, that slide is examined under a microscope and a pollen count created.
Alternatively, for those who sample indoor air, a kit can be purchased, the air sampled, and the sample sent off to a lab. The costs for these services (especially if you need to sample an entire building) can be prohibitive, and the labs take time.
Now, real-time sensors can do that tedious work. Automated sensors by Pollen Sense sample the air continuously, take microscopic images about every minute, then compile hourly averages. Now one can know which room has the mold spores or pieces right away. This new approach represents real savings in time and money, not to mention an access to actionable information that can improve indoor air quality and your health!
Sampling the air for pollen, mold and dust has never been this easy! Learn what considerations you should make as you think about installing a sensor.