Tag Archives: Chemical Sensitivity

Correlation Between Indoor Air Quality and Childhood Asthma & Allergies

Asthma and Allergies have a huge impact on school age children. A study published by Air Quality Sciences, Inc shows that “1 in 13 school-aged children suffer from asthma,” making asthma the “leading-cause of school absenteeism” accounting for over “10 million missed school days a year.” In collaboration with this statistic, Air Quality Sciences, Inc. has found that indoor air quality (IAQ) in school buildings is directly linked to the rates at which children develop asthma.

If not properly treated and managed, asthma can be a life-threatening condition, especially for children whose respiratory systems are not fully formed. Relative to their body size, children intake a larger volume of air than adults when they breathe, allowing for a proportionally greater intake of hazardous particulates and fibers. Once these substances are inhaled by children they can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream and permeated throughout the body. Many hazardous chemicals–such as VOCs–bioaccumulate within the body, becoming part of organ and cell tissues causing irregularities in development (To read more about bioaccumulation click here).  For this reason, children have more chemical sensitivities than adults and asthma attacks can be set off as reaction to odor after a single painting project has taken place indoors.

Children with asthma and allergies, experience exposure to indoor air pollutants to a much higher degree than children who do not. Levels of indoor air pollution can reach concentrations anywhere from 2 to 100 times higher than outdoor air pollution. When children spend 90% of their days indoors, this figure can factor largely into the incidents of asthma and allergy related illnesses exhibited in schools.

A study published by Thorax, an international peer reviewed journal for health professionals in all aspects of respiratory medicine, documented the relationship between exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the development of asthma in young children. The study showed that of exposure of VOCs from sources such as interior paint, cigarette smoke, solvents, &c, the VOCs that showed to be the highest risk factors to asthma were benzene, ethylbenzene, and toluene. These three chemicals are known components of many standard interior paints.

Every summer school buildings are repainted. In New Jersey, it is not permitted to paint in a school facility while children are present. The VOCs in standard paints and interior coatings have proven to be directly related to an increase in frequency of asthma attacks. According to a study done by Harvard University, Children who are exposed to Polyglycol ethers (PGEs)–commonly found in paint solvents–are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop asthma and allergies later to life.

Putting all of the pieces together, it is apparent that indoor air quality has a direct impact on the development of children’s respiratory systems. Children who are exposed to VOCs and other toxin airborne chemicals are more likely to develop asthma and those who have suffer at a higher degree when further exposure occurs. Because of this it is incredibly important to take measures to ensure schools are using products that will not cause permanent damage to the health of our children. Making the simple switch to a non-toxic interior paint will prevent thousands of toxins, VOCs and other carcinogens from entering the indoor air. By removing the source of the problem, asthma and allergies can be better managed.

For more tips on how to improve the indoor air quality of your home or office naturally check out this article:http://greenupgrader.com/1408/plants-for-health-improve-your-indoor-air-quality/