what's your IAQ?

What’s your IAQ  (Indoor Air Quality)
and is it poisoning your family?      

Studies by the Center for Disease Control, EPA and DoE conclude that up to 30,000,000 homes have toxic indoor air. EPA calls it one of the top 5 health threats facing Americans. Our homes are making us sick. chronically sick.

How did this happen?

Over the past 30 years we’ve made homes tighter, more efficient. We’ve also introduced hundreds of new man made, chemical based products into the home - from cabinet glues to hair spray to cleaning goods – that “off-gas” continuously. With some homes measuring over 500 chemicals in the air, tests show over 20% of them have never been identified before.

Conclusion: The product gases mix with each other to create a 3rd, more toxic gas that affects our health. Add to that cats, fire retardant fabric, insect carcasses, excessive moisture, and you end up with a toxic soup.  
Simple examples: your vinyl shower curtain of-gasses half its weight in the first year out of the box. The glues in your building materials off-gas for years. pests and pesticides both affect our breathing.

My air affects my health? Relationships have been established between indoor air quality and cancer, immunological dysfunction, endocrine disruption, asthma and allergies, possibly Alzheimers and ADHD.

What can I do?

Ventilation helps – to a remarkable degree. Indoor air can be considerably more polluted than outdoor air (4, 5, up to 100 times).

To avoid losing conditioned air and increasing your utility cost, an ERV (energy recovery ventilator) is an easy fix. It exhausts stale air, dilutes with fresh air several times a day, but captures the energy and exchanges it in the transfer to hold your air conditioning inside as efficiently as possible. It also filters and desiccates the air, and can cost less than a trip to the hospital, and less than a 100 watt bulb to operate.

What is the Problem?  
How do we fix the IAQ,  improve health outcomes, and reduce health costs?         It’s a 3 part solution:

·        Begin with an environmental health assessment. This is currently reimbursable by Medicaid and may soon be by private health insurance as well.

·        Provide standardized educational resources to occupants in order to modify behavior and their environment.

·        Improve the ventilation to provide less polluted air every day.


We are now at risk to over 15000 newer chemicals, ½ never tested for toxicity.  Of the over 500 chemicals found in homes studied,  over100 had never been identified before. No one knows what they are.                 

What are the big offenders?

New tight buildings or energy efficient buildings that hold in the gases, particulates and moisture.

The constant  off-gassing of new man-made chemical based products in the building materials, consumer goods and maintenance products.

What else is in the air?

Biological particles (molds, bacteria, spores, viruses, parasites, animal dander, pollen, etc.) , Non-biological particles (smoke, dust, heavy metals, radioactive isotopes, etc.),  and other gases (fumes from things like adhesives, petroleum products, pesticides, paint, and cleaning products; radon, carbon monoxide, etc.).

Dollar impact:

Nationally, the annual direct health care cost of asthma is approximately $50.1 billion; indirect costs (e.g., lost productivity) add another $5.9 billion, for a total of $56.0 billion dollars.

The remediation:

ERVs, or Energy Recovery Ventilators are compact  venting technologies for the home that pipe into the HVAC ductwork, remove polluted air at about 70-100 cubic feet/minute (cfm), replace with fresh air, capture the exiting energy and transfer to incoming media, dehumidify in the summer, humidify in the winter, and filter the incoming air.   

An additional benefit is that ERVs can reduce long term radon and off-gassing concentrations as well as airborne pollutants. ERVs save energy, reduce moisture,  reduce dust, extend the life of materials, improve the quality of the air, pressurize the home to reduce leakage, back-drafting and radon.
Note: For a qualified ERV provider or contractor in Missouri, see IAQhome.com


Educating on behavioral issues that the customer can control is key. Many indoor pollutants come from incomplete maintenance or cleaning, misuse of pesticides and chemicals, lack of fresh air and excessive moisture.  Conducting the Healthy Homes Model Questionnaire by a trained assessor helps ID the source of pollution.  Educating the public on the risks, sources and remedies can modify behaviors.

HEPA vacuuming is intended to disturb particulates and VOCs on surfaces and remove them from potential circulation prior to the installation ERVs.

Who Should Care Most?

·        The patient – decreasing sick time, absenteeism, and the discomfort of chronic illness.

·        The Dr. and hospital  – managing care and costs better

·        The insurers – reducing billable expenses for recovery and recidivism

The Details

There are several known home pollution hazards that relate to health:

·        Mold and high relative humidity

·        particulates (dust, lead, radon, smoke)

·        and VOCs (chemical off-gassing, combustion gases)

There are several primary health impacts from polluted indoor air:

·        Neurological and endocrine disruptions

·        Lung cancer

·        Respiratory and allergy conditions

There are certain remedies known to help:

·        Consumer Education and behavioral modification

·        Maintenance (HEPA Cleaning, removing sources of pollution)

·        Ventilation (Energy Recovery Ventilation)

With 3 goals:

·        Measurable improvement in chronic health conditions

·        improved comfort

·        reduced health care costs

The Scary Stuff:

Scientists were first alerted to the indoor pollution issue by the higher death rate of cats traced to the fire retardant in fabric furnishings.  Another study found a relationship between moth balls and the “new car” smell of foam and vinyl that proved fatal in some cases.

According to the EPA, indoor air quality is the fourth most serious environmental risk facing our nation. Air quality complaints have risen 10,000% in 20 years.

60 Minutes recently reported on the excessive levels of formaldehyde (FM) in Chinese sourced laminate flooring sold here under various names. As described in the report, hundreds of thousands of homes nationwide may have FM levels that exceed EPA guidelines, some by a large margin.                  

Endocrine disruption can occur at very low levels, can reach past the current generation and causes increases in mammary, ovarian, and prostate cancers.

IAQ studies show increases in immune and auto-immune diseases, and some neurodegenerative diseases, including obesity and diabetes. 40% of asthma attacks trace to indoor air quality issues.

The National Center for Healthy Homes states that over 30,000,000 USA homes are at risk and harbor toxic environmental conditions. The air in most of our homes can be 4, 5, or even 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, causing chronic and disabling health problems.

25m people are immune compromised and up to 50% of the population has an allergy.  Clear evidence points to household chemicals and gases as a cause of endocrine disruption, leading to immune dysfunction, asthma, and more.

Carpets not only harbor dust mites and moisture, many of the heavy metals and pesticides on the ground outdoors end up in the carpet indoors.

Carcinogenic flame retardants may be found in furnishings and children’s clothing, and it spreads to other surfaces over time.

Less than ½ of the common chemicals in our homes have been tested. Even fewer have been tested when used with other household chemicals.

80% of tested children’s bedrooms have been found contaminated by dander, pet and pest droppings, allergens, and chemical gas-out.

Polluted air causes 94% of all respiratory problems. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to asthma, cancer, ADHD, headaches, fatigue and respiratory diseases.

Asthma affects 1 in 15 children; ADHD affects nearly 20% of those under 18; Lung cancer from radon now kills more people than auto accidents.

 Asthma, learning disabilities, cancer, flu and memory loss are all attributed to polluted indoor air as a cause or a major aggravator.   

250,000 children test for elevated lead annually.

A recent Study showed over 500 chemicals in our indoor air, 120 of them couldn’t even be identified.   Phthalates were found to be extremely high, and affect IQ in newborns.

Included were bio-contaminants, combustion by-products, smoke, formaldehyde, arsenic, VOCs, phthalates, asbestos, radon, lead




  1. Wow interesting and helpful but also scary - what is in my house is killing me! Thanks for the info.


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