Indoor Air

Indianapolis Star One of the top five public health risks facing the United States is the air we breathe indoors -- in our homes, schools and businesses. It's where Americans spend about 90 percent of their time, and where levels of pollution could be two to five times higher than outdoor levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor air pollutants -- such as dust mites, volatile organic compounds (known as VOCs), fibrous particulates, radon, mold and other contaminants -- can trigger short- and long-term health problems ranging from asthma to allergies. A strong indicator of poor indoor air quality…

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January is National Radon Action Month, or NRAM. Read more about EPA’s radon activities and what others are doing to reduce their radon exposure. I was buying shampoo yesterday and was, for some reason, drawn to a particular brand I had never bought before. I didn’t realize why I was drawn to this particular product until later that day when I caught myself humming the jingle of the shampoo’s commercial on my walk home. What influences you to change your behavior in your day to day life? An article? A friend’s message? A public official’s warning? Our goal in public…

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So, I have what feels like a confession to make: I’m one of those people who gets headaches after being exposed to fabric softener-laced clothes dryer exhaust. And my throat closes up when I have to sit near someone on the Metro wearing way too much perfume/cologne/etc… (Luckily, I’m usually riding my bike where I don’t have to worry about fragrances as much as car exhaust and getting flattened.) So what’s the deal—am I chemically sensitive? Is that a diagnosable condition? Are all of us affected in some way by fragrances and I’m just more aware of the trigger? What…

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Improving the quality of life for people, especially those disproportionately impacted by disease, the environment, poverty or other life circumstances is one of the basic goals I always work to accomplish with my social, academic and professional pursuits. Along with this goal, I have tried to choose activities that are in line with the principles that my parents taught. These include the importance of faith, importance of family, hard work, honesty, manners, sharing, respecting all people, remembering where you come from and that you are standing on someone’s shoulders with each upward step. In addition, they instilled in me the…

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Given the winter weather forecast, I had to bring my potted plants inside. If it were up to me, I would have more plants everywhere in the house all year long. Unfortunately, I don’t have a green thumb, but when buying indoor plants, I look for those that will survive “my tender care.” In researching hardy indoor plants that required minimal care, I came across an interesting NASA study  which highlights how some plants can actually improve indoor air quality. Although EPA does not endorse the NASA study on these alleged natural cleaning machines, I’ve found quite a few articles…

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My organization, the National Education Association (NEA), has partnered with EPA for over a decade to help education professionals organize and implement comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) management programs. Now, why would an organization representing teachers and education support professionals care about IAQ or the IAQ Tools for Schools Program? It’s simple: we know that IAQ is important to the health of our members – individuals central to the schools in which they work and the communities in which they live. Our members can spend upward of twenty years in one school, making IAQ a vital component of their long-term…

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