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Indoor Air Quality and Cardiovascular Disease

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Indoor Air Quality and Cardiovascular Disease

indoor air quality and cardiovascular diseaseIs there a link between poor indoor air quality and cardiovascular disease? An increasing amount of research is showing a strong connection between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure, and cardiovascular illnesses such as strokes, and heart disease. Stronger links are also being found between cancer and air pollution exposure.

 

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), new data released in 2014 accredits one in every eight global deaths to be related to air pollution exposure. While it has been noted that a majority of these deaths occur in developing nations where air pollution is very high due to vehicle and industrial sources, this data specifies that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk world-wide.

The findings of the WHO data show that the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease and cancer is in addition to previously known links to COPD and other respiratory infections and disease.

Dr. Miriam Byrne, a NUI Galway researcher, has stated that homes and “buildings are leaky structures as far as air pollution is concerned, so while one is indoors, it is important to realize that one is exposed to outdoor air pollution”. With studies showing that many of us are spending more and more time indoors, up to 90% of our time, it is important to know our exposure risks and learn some tips for a healthier home. These outdoor sources of air pollution, leaking into our indoor air, compound the overall burden to our indoor air quality that already exists inside from things like smoking, our pets, cooking, mold and VOC’s that are off gassing in our environment.

This data released by WHO, which is based on increased information and knowledge about the potential diseased caused by air pollution, enabled researchers to better analyze the risks cast by a larger demographic umbrella. Studies were able to determine that in 2012, a total of 3.3 million deaths had some link to indoor air pollution while outdoor air pollution was linked to 2.6 million deaths.

When it comes to improving indoor air quality, it is important to balance the potential for outdoor contaminants to enter our indoor space when we are looking to let some fresh air in. Use common sense to ensure that if you live in an urban environment with lots of traffic or industry, that you are not opening your windows during rush hour or when smog is high. None the less, opening the windows and letting some fresh air in is very important to helping improve indoor air quality levels and eleviate symptoms of toxic home symdrome.

The key takeaway from the data and research conducted is that an improvement to our indoor air quality and a reduced exposure to air pollution can greatly improve our health and lower the risks associated with heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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