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Fresh clean and healthy air

What do you do if you feel that your home or office is stuffy? There are some obvious benefits to opening a window. An open window helps provide a room with air changes, which means the air within a space is exchanged. Air from an open window can replace the stagnant room air, which may be contaminated with mold, bacteria or viruses that could cause illness. The increased ventilation can help decrease carbon-dioxide levels that build over time due to room occupants’ breathing. High levels of carbon dioxide can cause fatigue and headaches. Harmful chemicals that have off-gassed from paints, furniture, or cooking can also be removed with adequate air changes from an open window.

This article originally appeared on the 11th December in the Irish Independent and online on www.independent.ie.

pablo 100There is increasing recognition that air pollution is not just an outdoors problem, it is important to also consider indoor air quality. Indoor air quality is significant because it can affect our comfort, productivity and, most importantly, our health. You can influence your indoor air quality in three main ways: source control (ie limiting the source of pollutants), ventilation, and cleaning of any pollutants that may be present. Here we break those three main strategies down even further to list 10 things you can do to improve your indoor air quality.

1. Be air aware

HomesJune marked the first annual National Healthy Homes Month. This initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was launched to provide people with the opportunity to learn more about housing and its effects on health. The National Center for Healthy Housing estimates that approximately 35 million metropolitan U.S. homes have at least one health and safety hazard. As a means to tackle this issue, HUD set out eight healthy home principles that can be followed to make the home environment healthier.

Every breath we take report coverToday the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) released the report “Every breath we take: The lifelong impact of air pollution”. The report covers the health effects of air pollution across our lifetime, from before birth to old age. The issue of air pollution is very important. In the UK around 40,000 deaths a year are estimated to be attributable to outdoor air pollution. However the report emphasises that air pollution is not just an outdoors problem. We spend most of our time indoors, so pollution of indoor spaces such as homes, workplaces and schools is just as crucial.

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are often described as the "lungs" of a building1. They can range in size from small stand-alone units serving a single room to large centrally controlled systems that serve multiple rooms in a building. HVAC systems in modern public and commercial buildings can provide heating, cooling, filtered outdoor air and humidity control to maintain comfort conditions in the building2. However, not all HVAC systems are designed to accomplish all of these functions. Some buildings rely only on natural ventilation while others lack mechanical cooling equipment (air conditioning, AC), and many function with little or no humidity control. Thermal comfort is commonly maintained with heated or cooled air that is mechanically distributed throughout the building.

Recent studies conducted on vacuum cleaner emissions, have vacuum cleaners as a potential source of indoor exposure to airborne allergens, bacteria and other pathogens. In this blog post we review the issues around this occurrence and the steps manufacturers of vacuum cleaners can take to ensure their products meet certification standards, in particular the asthma & allergy friendly certification standard.  As an accredited immunoassay testing facility airmid healthgroup is a designated laboratory for the program.