It’s something we don’t often think about – the air we breathe, more specifically, the air inside our homes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized indoor air pollution as one of the most concerning environmental dangers we encounter daily. To be more precise, indoor air can be up to five times more contaminated than outdoor air, according to the EPA. This finding was supported by the results from in-home air tests across North America that determined 96% of homes tested had at least one issue with indoor air quality.
These statistics are particularly troublesome because polluted indoor air can have negative impacts on one’s health. Examples of common indoor air pollutants include, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs (used as flame retardants), pet dander, dust mites, pollen, mold, and radon. Most of these pollutants are considered fine particle matter, which is easily inhaled and can consequently enter the bloodstream. Children, the elderly, and those who suffer from cardiovascular or respiratory diseases are especially susceptible to the effects of these pollutants.
In fact, research has shown there is a direct correlation between poor indoor air quality and various diseases and illnesses that can impact certain human biological systems, such as the…
- immune system
- endocrine system
- circulatory system
- lymphatic system
- nervous system
- reproductive system
- respiratory system
- digestive system
- urinary system
For instance, breathing in the various chemicals, molds, and dust that can be found in our home can cause memory problems such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, fertility issues, inflammatory digestive issues, poor circulation, and respiratory problems, such as asthma.
Here are a few other telling facts about indoor air quality to consider:
“In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.”
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
“Indoor concentrations of some pollutants have increased in recent decades due to such factors as energy-efficient building construction (when it lacks sufficient mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange) and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners.”
Environmental Protection Agency
“Indoor air pollution leads to increased incidence of pneumonia, allergy, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (including asthma), lung cancer, and others.”
American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
“Of the 4.3 million people who die annually from exposure to household air pollutants, most perish from stroke (34%), ischaemic heart disease (26%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (22%). Pneumonia and lung cancer account for 12% and 6% of deaths, respectively.”
World Health Organization
Thankfully, Dimension, Inc. has taken careful note of these issues and is committed to providing homeowners and their families with high quality indoor air. Take our Dracaena model home in Sussex. The home was tested for VOCs, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, mold, and airborne particle matter among other air quality parameters by Indoor Environmental Testing Inc., Wisconsin's top certified building biologist backed with 19 years of experience conducting data testing in homes across the state. According to their findings, “the air quality and EMF measurements achieved in this residence are far superior to the average dwelling.” Moreover, the report showed that our model home had the lowest test numbers the company had seen using its InstaScope equipment. As a result, our model home was selected for the Home of the Week by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and is recognized as the healthiest home in Wisconsin.
All of this success can be traced back to the materials that we use to construct a home. Not only are the materials that we use green in the sense that they are environmentally friendly, but they are also healthy for people. A few aspects of a home that Dimension, Inc. is mindful of when ensuring high quality indoor air is flooring, countertops, adhesives and glues with low VOCs, insulation, and a proper HVAC system.
When it comes to flooring, it’s best to choose a healthy option, in other words, one with antimicrobial properties. One example is cork flooring as it is resistant to producing or assimilating bacteria, mold, or mildew. Not to mention, cork flooring requires little maintenance.
Chemicals are ever abundant in kitchens, which is why it’s important to counteract this with electric appliances, non-toxic stainless sinks, steam cooking, and ceramic cookware. Also, quartz countertops automatically eliminate the inclusion of unnecessary chemicals as they don’t need to be sealed.
The EPA explains that VOCs take the form of gases and are produced from thousands of solid or liquid products. In a home, they are notably present during the construction process, specifically in the adhesives used. Moreover, VOCs are up to 10 times higher inside than outside, according to the EPA. That being said, you’ll want to ensure that low VOC adhesives are used during the construction phase.
Insulation is notorious for causing upper respiratory distress when breathing it in or swallowing the tiny particles. So, think about opting for cotton insulation, which is comprised of recycled blue jean material.
Dust can be found nearly everywhere, but one way to reduce it is to ensure that materials such as tile, drywall, and wood are cut properly and in a healthy manner. Additionally, sealed metal ductwork helps minimize dust. Above all, choosing the appropriate HVAC system will help maintain high quality indoor air.
To summarize, it’s imperative for homeowners and their families to become familiar with the dangers associated with poor indoor air quality, since the air we breathe is directly related to our overall health. Dimension, Inc. uses materials that are ecological as well as healthy for people in order to ensure pristine indoor air quality.