Why should you be concerned about air pollution?
Studies have shown that exposure to air pollution, particularly particulate matter, is harmful to your health. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to increases in hospital admissions and mortality related to respiratory illness and diseases. A World Health Organisation (WHO) study suggested that particular matter air pollution reduced the life expectancy of Europeans by 8.6 months, and that reducing this air pollution would save up to $161 billion euros.
Indoor Air Pollution
Air pollution is usually measured outdoors and usually measures point sources of pollution, such as factories, or linear sources, such as high volume roads. Yet most of our time is spent indoors where our air quality is affected by other sources of pollution such as smoking, gas burners, mold, and VOC's.
Modern homes are far more air tight than earlier generations which can lead to additional air quality problems. To qualify as an energy efficient house under many programs a blower test must be conducted to certify the leaks in the home shell are within acceptable limits.
Indoor air pollution can be reduced using filter systems. One type of such system that also helps control heating/cooling costs is called Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV). Air is picked up from certain rooms via ducting, goes the the central unit where it passes through a heat exchanger and is exhausted to the atmosphere. Fresh air comes in through the opposite side of the heat exchanger is is delivered through ducting to specified rooms.
The incoming air is heated/cooled in the heat exchanger to conserve energy spent in conditioning the air in the home. If the suction points are areas where mold may be a problem this system will assist in preventing mold growth.
Humidity can be controlled by a properly designed HRV system.
Air Pollution in Your Area
In the USA:
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports air pollution by State and County.
The US EPA and Google Earth have created a service that allows you to easily find out how air pollution affects your neighborhood. With this Google Earth feature, you are are able to find the sources of air pollution in your neighbourhood, as well as information about the type and quantity of air pollution from each source.