Florida IAQ and the 7 Principals of Healthy Homes

Face it. Anywhere in Florida makes for a great place to live. Yet every home endures a certain amount of unwanted, indoor air pollutants. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental health risks faced by U.S. citizens.

Indoor air pollution builds up via in-home activities such as cooking, cleaning and even indoor remodeling projects. To eliminate the associated risk factors, a Florida homeowner could attempt to replace the indoor air with cleaner outdoor air. However, residential ventilation systems usually don’t include outdoor air supply.  If you consider opening a window that could occasionally be rendered inefficient due to unfavorable weather conditions, elevated humidity, or extreme accumulations of contaminants in the outdoor air.

At times, homeowners must embrace alternative indoor air cleaning methods. Some residents of Florida are known for making use of indoor air cleaning devices and products that attach to your homes air handler such as UV lights or hydroxyl and ozone generators in an attempt to disinfect purify or destroy air contaminants before they are recycled back into their home air supply.  But those are just bells and whistles that don’t actually correct the issue.

We recommend that you begin the improvement of your indoor environment using the 7 Principals of Healthy Homes.

1. Dry:
Damp houses provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma.

2. Clean:
Clean homes help reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants.

3. Pest-Free:
Recent studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children; yet inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems, since pesticide residues in homes pose risks for neurological damage and cancer.

4. Safe:
The majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.

5. Contaminant-Free:
Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to asbestos particles, radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.

6. Ventilated:
Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.

7. Maintained:
Poorly-maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, which affects some 240,000 U.S. children.

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
Microshield Environmental Services, LLC

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