In our second article on indoor air quality, we invited you to do a little introspection and briefly analyze your habits, your decisions and all the elements that could influence your indoor air quality: recent work, new furniture, exterminator services, etc. But since no house is completely cut off from the outside world, the impact of the neighborhood in which the house is located should not be overlooked. This time, we will broaden our investigation to focus on the external elements. Read our article and see what external aspects can influence air quality.
This step involves examining the general area to determine if the geographic location of your home is affecting your health. As we did in our last exercise, we propose here a series of questions. Their objective: to check the potential sources of pollution in your area, your district and then your immediate neighbourhood.
Again, a good starting point is to simply go out for a walk in your neighbourhood and let your ears, eyes and nose do their job. Do you feel any scents that suggest that an industry is nearby? Do you hear a sound of farm machinery? Do you see several large trucks waiting at the red light of a busy crossroads?
Back home, a brief visit on the Internet to view a map of your municipality and surroundings can reveal a lot about the environment in which your home is located.
The geographical region
– In what environment is the house located? In urban areas, air pollution can be a harmful factor. In rural areas, you may suffer the harmful effects that can result from agricultural activities, such as the application of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
– Prevailing winds and various seasonal conditions such as wind direction can also have a negative effect on your municipality’s air quality. For example, do the prevailing winds bring with them the pollutants from a large surrounding city?
– Closer to you, is the house located near a factory or a dump site? Are there busy roads that produce toxic fumes, dust and noise? All these elements are obvious sources of pollutants.
– Are there any railways or airports nearby? Do you know if there are any gas stations or dry cleaning companies in the area? Again, all these factors influence the air quality in your home.
– By taking a deep breath during your little walk, did you feel the smell of fabric softener, smoke or cooking? Do you see several chimneys? Dryer exhaust ducts and range hoods release chemical contaminants and combustion products into the air.
– Is your house air intake duct located away from sources of pollution? Remember that the location of private car entrances and exhaust ducts from neighbouring properties affects the quality of your indoor air.
– Are there trees and shrubs near your home? Trees reduce air movement and can therefore reduce air change.
– Is the house near a golf course? As you know, golf courses are periodically treated with pesticides.
After completing our first two exercises, you already have a better idea of the potential sources of pollution that can affect indoor air quality than your family and you breathe daily. In our next article, we will discuss in more detail the sources of contaminants we have identified and propose some summary solutions.