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How Much Do You Know About Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified indoor air quality as one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to public health. Yet a survey commissioned on behalf of the American Lung Association Health House program and 3M in April 2002 found that many of those questioned are not aware of: (a) the potential dangers associated with poor indoor air; (b) steps homeowners can take to improve air quality in the home.

Five hundred forty homeowners nationwide responded to the survey, which has a +/- six percent margin of error. Key findings appear below:

  • More than 50 percent of Americans are not aware that poor indoor air quality is one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to public health. And nearly 25 percent of Americans are not concerned about the air quality in their homes and the impact it can have on their family's health.
  • Less than 20 percent of Americans believe that the air inside their homes is more polluted than the air outdoors. However, the Environmental Protection Agency states that levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher — and occasionally up to 100 times higher — than outdoor levels.
  • More than 70 percent of Americans have forced air heating and/or central air in their homes.  Yet nearly 50 percent do not change the filter in their heating/air conditioning unit every 2 to 3 months as recommended. And 10 percent have never replaced the filter in their heating/air conditioning unit.
  • Only about 11 percent of Americans purchase high efficiency furnace filters, despite the fact that high efficiency filters can be more effective than standard fiberglass filters in capturing pollen, pet dander, smoke and other potentially harmful microparticles.
  • More than 50 percent of Americans are not aware that forced air heating and air conditioning units should be inspected annually by a professional. And more than 30 percent of Americans have never had their forced air heating or air conditioning units inspected.
  • Nearly 75 percent of Americans live with someone who has allergies, asthma, emphysema or another respiratory illness.
  • Only 27 percent of Americans have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

This article was published by American Lung Association, copyright 2009. It can be accessed online at the following link.