Prior to COVID-19, people spent 90% of their time inside. Since COVID-19, people are spending much more time at home and in their local communities, and the spaces where we live, work, and play have shifted dramatically. Our homes have now become our offices and our classrooms.
The connection between Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and health has long been well understood. We know indoor air is commonly two to five times more contaminated than outside air. It is important to be aware that many of the airborne pollutants in our homes originate from what we bring into the house. Furniture, carpeting, cleaning products, building finishes, personal care products, and combustion appliances can all degrade home air quality. Studies have demonstrated that poor IAQ is a main cause of respiratory-related illness and disease, including allergies, asthma, airway infections, heart disease, and cancers. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top five threats to human health. In addition to physical wellbeing, indoor air quality has a significant impact on mental health.
Due to its aerosol transmission, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing people to spend more time at home, and has heightened the awareness of the critical importance of creating healthy indoor spaces. As we begin to understand COVID-19 and learn about precautions to prevent its spread, the quality of the air in the buildings we inhabit is key to disease prevention and controlling communicable diseases. Improving IAQ through a variety of tactics, including ventilation and filtration, are things you can do right now to effectively increase the air quality of your home. For additional information and useful tips on indoor air at home and at work, please visit the EPA’s website.