A pan-European study, carried out by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, has highlighted the impact of indoor allergens on disease and life expectancy – revealing a surprising link between indoor exposure to pollutants and cardiovascular disease.
The study reveals that exposure to indoor pollutants is linked to reduced life expectancy and burden of disease. 57% of the total burden relates to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to lung cancer, 12% to asthma and the remaining 8% is in association with other respiratory conditions.
The study suggests that a change in the way that homes in the UK are ventilated could reduce the overall burden of disease caused by indoor air pollution by approximately 38% each year; stating that significant health benefits would be seen across the UK if homes had effective, optimised ventilation systems installed.
Dr Julie Riggs, an academic practitioner and health and safety professional, said: “Fresh and clean air from ventilation is essential to the comfort and energy efficiency of our homes. Inadequate ventilation is the major cause of poor indoor air quality leading to a number of problems, such as high heating and cooling costs, mould and mildew growth, excess moisture and a high concentration of pollutants and allergens. This often invisible risk has resulted in 1 in 5 homes in the UK suffering from mould and condensation. The prevalence of asthma in the UK is amongst the highest in the world; no longer can we ignore the latent health risks from exposure to air pollutants that lurk in our homes affecting our most vital organs, our lungs.”
Dr Riggs adds:“Ventilation is a fundamental solution for the avoidance of preventable respiratory diseases. Investment in effective ventilation and air quality solutions ultimately results in an investment in our health and comfort.”
Rebecca McLean, Marketing Director for EnviroVent, one of the UK’s leading ventilation manufacturers, said: “These startling statistics really do show just how important it is to retain good indoor air quality. The great news is that ventilation systems can be retrofitted into homes relatively inexpensively, either in individual ‘wet’ rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms or via a whole house Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) system.”