5 Indoor Air Quality Statistics You Should Know About

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With environmental concerns and health regulations continuing to gain momentum, businesses everywhere are beginning to recognize the importance of maintaining healthy indoor air quality in their workplaces. Read on to learn more about air quality statistics that every business owner should know.

When you think of polluted air, images of heavy industry, smog, or vehicle emissions likely come to mind. While outdoor air pollution does remain a major human health concern, indoor air pollutants can be equally dangerous, potentially contributing to a variety of adverse health conditions like respiratory diseases or even lung cancer. Chongqing, China cityscape.-2

In order to appreciate the dangers of air contaminants in an indoor environment, it may help to learn a few facts and figures on the topic. Read on to review some startling indoor air quality statistics that everyone should know.

The Challenges of Indoor Air Pollution

By far, the most prominent challenge posed by bad air quality is the many health problems it can cause. Those impacted by poor indoor air quality in the short term may need to contend with increased asthma attacks, a dry throat, coughing, watery eyes, or a runny nose. However, exposure to polluted indoor air over a longer period of time can lead to even more debilitating problems, including heart palpitations, migraines, severe fatigue, dizziness, and cancer.

Due to the health impact, organizations with indoor air quality problems often notice a sharp decline in performance among their employees. As more workers take sick leave or spend their working hours managing their symptoms, productivity begins to decrease dramatically. This can spell big problems for businesses, especially for those on strict deadlines and tight margins.

Another major challenge posed by indoor air pollution is the cost associated with monitoring and managing indoor pollutants. This includes deploying indoor air monitoring technology throughout the building, making improvements to the ventilation system, and instituting air pollutant source controls to halt the production of particulate matter or contaminants in the first place. While these efforts can increase operating costs in the short run, the long-term consequences of ignoring poor IAQ can be far more expensive.

Essential Indoor Air Quality Statistics

In the U.S. indoor air quality has become a bigger priority for organizations in recent years, and for good reason. A quick review of the data on the subject reveals just how much indoor air contamination can negatively impact your workforce and the overall success of your organization. Here are some important air quality statistics that can help put things into perspective.

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1. The Impact of Poor Indoor Air Quality on Health

The negative effects of polluted indoor air on human health are significant. According to the World Health Organization, health issues caused by indoor air pollution contributed to 1.5 million deaths in 2000 alone. Now, more than 20 years later, deaths associated with poor indoor air exceed 3.2 million annually. These deaths stem from many different ailments and diseases, including heart problems, respiratory infections, strokes, and cancer.

2. Time Spent Indoors

Possibly the biggest contributing factor to the increased awareness about indoor air quality is the sheer amount of time Americans spend indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), individuals living in the U.S. typically spend up to 90% of their time in an indoor environment, either at work or at home. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the work-from-home initiatives that it brought forth, many people were also exposed to household contaminants like cooking fuel, cleaning products, and pet dander that would otherwise not be present at their workplaces. Without proper ventilation, indoor air pollutants can begin to reach dangerous levels that far exceed the health risks posed by polluted outdoor air.

3. Indoor Air Quality in Workplaces and Its Economic Impact

The detrimental health effects caused by poor indoor air quality can negatively impact your company’s bottom line. After all, employees are less productive when they need to spend precious time and resources on managing their symptoms. According to a 2022 white paper by Johnson Controls, work absences caused by asthma alone are estimated to cost American businesses more than $2 billion annually.

Aside from the direct financial burden caused by absenteeism and reduced productivity, indoor air quality can also impact the value of commercial real estate properties. As the public becomes more aware of indoor air quality and health regulations continue to expand, workplaces designated as having poor IAQ, or “sick building syndrome,” will become less desirable on the open market. This situation can also contribute to fewer new-hire applications and more employees opting to work from home, both of which can stifle growth and productivity.

4. Indoor Quality vs. Outdoor Quality Stats

Outdoors, pollutants have unlimited room to spread out and dissipate into the open air, making it difficult for contaminants to concentrate at high levels for long periods of time. This isn’t the case inside buildings. 

Workplaces that lack proper ventilation and source control policies can easily produce levels of pollution that easily exceed the dangers of unhealthy outdoor air quality. According to the EPA, indoor pollutants can even reach levels up to 100 times higher than in the air outside. For this reason, organizations need to regularly check the air quality inside their buildings to ensure contaminants remain under control at all times.

5. Diseases That Can Be Attributed to Bad Indoor Air Quality

Aside from symptoms like asthma, aggravated allergies, coughing, or a runny nose, bad indoor air quality can also cause disease. Conditions like heart disease, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and various forms of cancer are known to stem from prolonged exposure to polluted indoor air.

If you suspect that poor indoor air quality could be a problem at your organization, you’ll need to conduct an indoor air pollution test to confirm your suspicions and identify the type of pollutants that are responsible for the poor air quality.

Promote Health and Wellness Initiatives With an IAQ Monitoring Solution

At Attune, we provide reliable and cutting-edge indoor air monitoring solutions to protect your valued employees from the negative impact of pollution in the workplace. By strategically positioning our IAQ sensors throughout your building, you’ll have access to real-time data tracking key air quality metrics, such as humidity, temperature, CO2 levels, volatile organic compound levels, and more. 

If you believe it’s time to put your indoor air quality concerns to rest once and for all, contact us today to get started.

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