How Indoor Air Quality Affects People

The greatest difficulty in solving indoor air quality problems is that effects on people can vary.  One of a pollutant can have a completely different effect on two different people.  While pollutants found in indoor air can be responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty as to what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary cause specific health problems.

Immunocompromised Individuals

People who are immunocompromised have an immune system that is compromised or entirely absent.  Indoor air quality is of great concern to those who are immunuocomprimised, as their bodies are very vulnerable to opportunistic infections.


Some people can become sensitized to biological & chemical pollutants after repeated or high level exposures. Effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures.  Once sensitized to a pollutant, the individual can experience acute adverse reactions when they are exposed to that pollutant, even when the pollutant is at a lower level.

Age Makes a Difference

Children are sensitive to indoor air quality because they breathe faster than adults, inhaling up to 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults.  Elderly have a higher risk for cardiovascular, respiratory illness from fine particle pollutions.

Allergies & Asthma

Dust is a mixture of many substances. Its content may vary from home to home, but the most common allergy triggers such as mold spores, pollen, dust mites, can trigger allergy or asthma attacks.

Fortunately for most healthy people, the symptoms of air pollution exposure usually go away as soon as the air quality improves.  Good housekeeping and good maintenance of the heating and air conditioning equipment is the most important methods for controlling exposure to indoor air pollutants.