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Indoor Air Quality and Toxic Dangers

Show Summary - March 23, 2009

Guest: Glen Fellman

Glen Fellman (Rockville, MD), Indoor Air Quality Association "Toxic Dangers in Your Home"

Sharon's first guest, Glen Fellman, is with the Indoor Air Quality Association. He explained that because of the energy crisis of the 1970's, buildings are now constructed "tight" and as a result, there is less air circulation from the outside. This creates numerous problems. For example, a normal, comfortable humidity runs in the range of 35 to 50%. This is the legal standard in most states. The new buildings, however, don't allow for moisture transfer between indoors and outdoors. As a result, we are capturing contaminants inside the buildings and recycling them over and over through the ventilation system.

Also, forced air heating and cooling cause the air to dry out. If we artificially increase humidity levels, the humidity can get too high causing the growth of mold and other potential allergens. There are numerous other sources of indoor allergies as well, including pets, household chemicals, fabric sizing, dust mites, etc. Excessive moisture from leaking pipes inside the walls can also create problems (which could breed mold and require the replacement of drywall, carpet, carpet padding and possibly the sub-flooring).

Much of these indoor allergens can be alleviated simply by opening the doors and windows once in a while.

It is also important to keep humidifiers clean or they can make the problem worse. Also, use a good vacuum cleaner, dust frequently and try to avoid household cleaning chemicals.

For more information about a healthy indoor environment, go to www.iaqa.org.

Categories: Ecology and the environment, health and wellness