Forbes: Time for an Indoor Air Awakening
Forbes Business Council | Aug 9 2023
Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos. Paul is an expert on indoor environmental quality and healthy buildings.
Fifty-four years ago, gripping images of the burning Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, helped galvanize support for the first Earth Day and encouraged unprecedented efforts to combat outdoor air and water pollution. Recent wildfires, record heat and the Covid-19 pandemic should light a fire for environmental action on a new front: indoor air quality.
As sure as what goes up must come down, outdoor pollution inevitably finds a way indoors. Research conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that concentrations of some pollutants can be up to five times higher indoors than outside. That’s mainly because limited ventilation in enclosed spaces can trap pollutants. This is particularly concerning as research shows that most people spend about 90% of their time indoors.
The consequences of poor IAQ can be severe, especially for people with health concerns. Indoor air is subject to a wide range of pollutants, coming both from outdoor air that flows inside and from source contaminants within the building. The risk of exposure to pollutants also extends to a wide range of pathogens. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is also considered an extremely dangerous air pollutant and is the most common component of wildfire smoke.