Difference Between Outdoor & Indoor Air Pollution

Poor indoor air quality (at home and at work) accounts for some of the most common of health issues. The average person actually spends close to 90% of the time indoors, so clearly, indoor air quality is important. On the flip side, indoor air pollution can perpetuate undesirable health risks.

Indoor air pollution can take on many forms

Because it’s so inconspicuous, indoor air pollution is often underestimated, and left unattended until things get serious. The thing is, indoor air pollution can sometimes be more dangerous than outdoor pollution, simply because we spend so much time indoors (especially in wintertime).

Understanding the basics will help to keep home and family safe and healthy. And while every home will be different, there are some common indoor air pollutants that should be monitored.

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  • asbestos
  • second-hand smoke
  • carbon monoxide
  • radon gas
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • airborne lead

Outdoor air pollution in Canada

Outdoor pollution results from chemical reactions derived from various sources – mostly from vehicle exhaust and industrial gas emissions. Naturally, bigger cities suffer more from the effects of pollution, with the warm summer months exacerbating the situation.

Depending on the geographic location and the local weather, air pollution can either be dispersed or built up, even to dangerous levels. In summer, for example, it’s not unusual to have air quality warnings where the level of pollutants can compromise the human health.

Indoor pollution at home/work

The main problem with enclosed environments is that air circulation is restricted. Whether it’s poor ventilation or poor air quality, it’s no wonder that indoor air pollution can often be more hazardous than outdoor pollution (since so much time is spent indoors).

Indoors, there is no shortage of air pollution - with everything from tobacco smoke; to off-gassing vapours; to paints and solvents; to household cleaning solutions. Many buildings (and homes) can also be exposed to radon gas, as well as airborne asbestos particles.

Air pollution and human health

When neglected, air pollution affects health, both short-term and long-term.  The very young and very old are usually more sensitive to pollutants and will present with more severe symptoms. Those with asthma, heart, and lung issues may be at the greatest risk.

Short-term, a polluted indoor environment could perpetuate a number of symptoms: from sinus irritation; to allergic reactions; to headaches and nausea, to respiratory problems. And where concentration of pollutants is particularly high, some medical conditions can be aggravated.

Averting outdoor/indoor pollution

Today, air pollution is highly monitored, with legislation designed to control emissions. There are also international standards to define pollution types and volumes, and strict exposure limits.

The aim, of course, in every country, is to reduce air pollution, mainly through rules, regulations, and legislation. These often focus on transportation vehicles and major industrial emissions.

As for indoor air pollution, experts like Inch-by-Inch Inspections specialize in air quality testing as a means of determining the source and cause of indoor pollutants. For homes and buildings, Inch-by-Inch offers a range of diagnostic services designed to remedy specific pollution issues.

  • air quality inspection and testing
  • asbestos testing and assessment
  • air sampling/laboratory analysis
  • mold inspection and remediation
  • air circulation/ventilation exams
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