An ever-growing amount of people spend 90% of their day indoors, according to the VELUX Group, a Danish manufacturing company. Today’s “indoor generation” is far more exposed to indoor air pollution as a result, driving up the need for efforts to minimize its effects. Alongside work to quell climate change, the fight against indoor air pollution is more important than ever before.
What We Know About The Threat of Indoor Air Pollution
The effect of indoor air pollution, potent as it is, is worsened by the fact that homes are sealed more tightly than ever before. This is done in the interest of an energy-efficient building, but it comes in an exchange for proper airflow. Dust buildup in homes, as well as pollutants expelled from appliances like air conditioners, are locked inside by airtight building design. This can lead to a troubling amount of health issues.
Most apparent of these are irritation in the sinuses and throat, as well as the eyes. People with dust allergies receive the worst impact of the lingering dust and other particles. Trapped air can also grow damp, encouraging the growth of mold. Damp, moldy air has been proven to make asthma far more likely to develop in children. In a long-term timeframe, exposure to indoor air pollution has the potential to induce respiratory issues and even lead to heart disease.
The Solutions Poised to Combat the Threat
A fair number of chemists have taken an interest in the substances that contribute to indoor air pollution and ways to ensure that they don’t linger within homes. Locally, the most notable of these is Dr. Lupita Montoya. She is a former Colorado University Boulder professor who has dedicated her life to studying indoor toxins such as those found beauty products and nail polish. After seeing the effect that it had on nail salon workers, Montoya worked tirelessly to research ways to remove such toxins, as well as discover more that may be hidden elsewhere.
Meanwhile, local firms continue to enhance their service capabilities to help more homes combat the threat of indoor air pollution. Among these are Filter King, providing affordable door-to-door air filtration in Colorado and beyond. VELUX USA also extends their acclaimed approach to indoor insulation that isn’t restrictive to airflow. While a permanent solution to indoor air pollution remains in the works, combining the services offered by such companies serves well to minimize its effects.
Challenges That Lie Ahead
In an unfortunate turn of events, Dr. Lupita Montoya was denied the tenure that would allow her to focus her work. As an added blow, she was also issued a one-year terminal contract to finish her work and retire honorably. Dr. Montoya cites that the university has denied her tenure case due to racial discrimination. However, other researchers like her are not being given enough attention for other reasons as well. Researchers fighting air pollution, and by extension indoor air pollution, are not getting the attention and resources that their work needs.
There is also the ever-present potential of newly discovered substances to be major contributors to indoor air pollution. Such emerging pollutants can threaten to render current air filtration technologies obsolete and may not be solved by simple airflow increase. Natural disasters such as wildfires and volcanic eruptions can also put a major strain on indoor filtration systems, causing them to linger inside homes too long for comfort.
The effects of current efforts to stave off indoor air pollution remain to be seen. However, it is clear that for our fight against it can be 100% effective, researchers such as Dr. Montoya needs to be given sufficient resources in order to provide us with the edge we need for cleaner air.