With the coronavirus epidemic of 2020, millions of people around the world will no longer spend 80% of their time in buildings (between work, school and home) but rather 95% of their time at home, continuously for weeks at a time.
The concept of infections from microbes is familiar and well understood by the vast majority of the population.
People respond by washing their hands regularly or disinfecting their wounds in case of even minor injuries.
Similarly, intoxication by substances present in our daily lives is also understood, as is the case with chronic exposure to indoor air pollution, but few people take action to prevent it.
Is poor indoor air quality an aggravating factor in the health effects of COVID-19?
Chronic diseases and conditions such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, are known to increase mortality from COVID-19.
In addition, COVID-19 can reveal chronic pathologies that may previously have been ignored by the individual.
It is now recognized that poor indoor air quality increases the risk of chronic diseases and therefore also increases the risk of coronavirus-related co-morbidity.
Improving indoor air quality on a daily basis is therefore an effective way to reduce the risks.
What are the health risks of being confined in a polluted indoor air?
The health effects of poor indoor air quality, while too often underestimated, are nevertheless well identified. Here are a few examples:
- Lead pollution can cause lead poisoning.
- Formaldehyde, like some other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), is carcinogenic.
- Pesticides found in rural housing but also in cities can be carcinogenic, neurotoxic, endocrine disruptors and/or reprotoxic.
- Plasticisers can cause neurological disorders, fertility disorders and are endocrine disruptors.
- Dust mites cause allergies and respiratory diseases such as asthma attacks.
- Moulds produce allergens and mycotoxins that are dangerous to health and can create airway conditions (aspergillosis).
- Benzene and other Aromatic Volatile Organic Compounds cause cancers and in particular leukaemia.
- Combustion residues (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAHs) are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
- Flame retardants are responsible for fertility problems and can affect the nervous system (neurotoxic).
How to assess indoor air quality?
Laboratory tests must be carried out either by dust analysis or air analysis to measure actual pollution levels.
Several choices are possible:
- An analysis by room type will give you access to a wide spectrum of pollutants.
- A targeted analysis of specific pollutants according to symptoms or pathologies.
- A targeted analysis according to the environment outside your home: car traffic or proximity to a farm using pesticides.
If you don't know which analysis to perform, YOOTEST offers a personalized IAQ assessment of your home to guide your choices.
Whether you are confined or not in your dwelling, the air quality problem remains the same, confinement only exacerbates it.