Living in damp and mouldy homes increases our chance of asthma by 40% and unless we act now we risk endangering our health as a result. A new 24/7 indoor generation is unaware that the air inside our homes and public buildings can be more polluted than outside, with the vast majority of people in Canada (53%) believing indoor air quality is no better than or cleaner than that found outside. In fact, it can be up to five times more polluted.
The VELUX Group has unveiled the results of The Indoor Generation report – a survey that found an overwhelming misconception about the impact on our health caused by spending too much time indoors, especially on children, whose bedrooms which can be the most polluted room in the house.
The Indoor Generation refers to the growing number of people who spend the vast majority of their time indoors – currently 90% of their lives – compared to previous generations.
Everyday home life activities, such as cooking, cleaning, showering, lighting candles, air drying clothes indoors and even sleeping and breathing, all contribute to polluted indoor air, which over time can lead to mould and damp homes, increasing our risk of developing asthma, respiratory diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Pollutants present in everyday household objects are releasing toxins into our homes –detergents and the plastic toys that we give our children to play with, as well as building materials, are just some of the items which can worsen our indoor air quality.
It’s believed more children will suffer from asthma or allergies unless homes and public buildings are better ventilated, and the chances of being diagnosed with asthma increase by 40% if you spend too much time in damp, mouldy buildings.
The survey also found a significant disconnect between how people think they live their lives and the way they actually do, with only a quarter of people (26%) in Canada saying they spend 21 hours or more inside. But the actual figure is far more worrying, with previous research discovering a new ‘indoor generation’ who spend about 90% of their time – and often in dark, poorly ventilated and unhealthy buildings. In fact, 1 in 6 Europeans live in unhealthy buildings.
Peter Foldbjerg, head of daylight energy and indoor climate at VELUX, said: “We are increasingly turning into a generation of indoor people where the only time we get daylight and fresh air mid-week is on the commute to work or school. Modern life can often involve an early start to the day, race to work where we spend eight to ten hours inside an office and then straight home, or sometimes making a stop off for groceries or for a quick workout inside a damp and sweaty fitness centre.
“Most people think that indoor air, the air in their homes is better than the air we breathe outdoors, but, it may be worse, up to five times more polluted than outside,” said Nels Moxness, President & CEO, VELUX Canada Inc. “The numbers in our report indicate a lack of awareness about the impact of always being indoors – and today’s indoor generation children are those who are most likely to suffer from conditions that affect their physiological and psychological state. Through this report we aim to educate and foster discussion around healthier living habits.”
VELUX has launched a short film “The Indoor Generation” to raise awareness of the importance of living in healthy homes and the small changes that everyone can make to improve their living environment and indoor air quality. It can be viewed here.
Here are six simple steps to make the air inside your home healthier:
Open your windows at least three to four times a day to allow fresh air in and open your blinds to let the sun/natural light into your home
Keep bathroom doors closed and turn on the extractor fan or open a window when showering
Turn hood fan on when cooking and open your windows
Don’t burn candles
Dry clothes outside
Clean regularly with environmentally friendly products
Inspect home fans
Hypoallergenic air filters in HVAC systems and air purifiers
More information is available via the Velux website, linked here.