The DAQ disseminates indoor air quality information to interested citizens in Wyandotte County. The State of Kansas and EPA currently have no “standards of care” for residential indoor air quality nor have threshold levels of exposure to common indoor pollutants been established to protect public health.
Pollution standards do exist for outside air, for the workplace and public buildings; however, very few states have developed standards for pollution levels in the home. At times monitored indoor pollutant levels in some homes have been found to exceed the “safe” outdoor pollution standards, as well as those of the workplace.
Indoor air pollution is the result of both man- made materials and biological materials which are released or produced in or near the home. Common pollutants found in homes are (VOC’s) volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, particulates, radon, lead, asbestos, biologicals such as mold spores, and a combination of gases and by- products. These pollutants come from a variety of sources such as: household cleaning products, wood and fuels which are burned, building materials and remodeling products, furnishings, paint, paint strippers, pesticides, the soil under the house, human activity, wet conditions that promote mold growth and our pets.
Clean air is a precious commodity both inside and outside. For a long time now we have been concerned about the air outside, however, Americans now spend the majority of their time indoors. Unfortunately the air inside our homes may be more polluted and dangerous than the air outside. Citizens need to know what those pollutants are and how to reduce their levels inside their homes. Indoor air problems can be annoying and unpleasant, create discomfort or lead to health problems or even death. While a single pollutant at a low level may not be a health risk, some homes have multiple sources which contribute to indoor air pollution. Some health effects from poor indoor air quality may be experienced immediately, others require long term exposure. Some health effects disappear after removing the person from the source of the pollution.
Common health effects of poor indoor air quality include: eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, asthma, upper respiratory infections and cancer. There is considerable controversy regarding what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People react differently due to sensitivity, age and medical conditions. Fortunately there are ways to control or eliminate these pollutants at relatively low cost. These measures can help you achieve a healthy house.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a web site which contains extensive information concerning Indoor Air Quality and its components. Start your online search for information with www.epa.gov/iaq or call the DAQ at 913-573-6700 for additional information.