Buildings used to breathe. Outside air, through cracks around windows, doors, and other places, was able to exchange with inside air. This exchange kept the indoor air about the same as the outside air. That all started to change in the 1970’s when the concerns about our dependency on foreign oil caused us to re-evaluate our construction practices and the building materials we used.
Homes became “tight” and the same air was re-circulated over and over again indoors. This resulted in the seemingly endless list of airborne contaminants building to health threatening levels and with Americans spending up to 90 percent of their time indoors, indoor air pollution has become one of the top environmental concerns in the country. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor air pollutant levels may be two to five times higher than the pollutant levels outdoors.
All of these are just a part of normal life in many homes, so elimination as a solution would not be the first choice. On the other hand, there are even less pleasant things that can contribute to indoor pollution. For example, the protein in urine from rats and mice when it dries can become airborne. Also, Central air heating and cooling systems can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew, spreading allergens throughout a home. These are areas of health concerns that need to be addressed as soon as people become aware of them.
When no cause for the patient’s complaints can be found, doctors are recommending that the patient’s homes are tested for the cause. A recent study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine put forth the hypothesis that systemic inflammation and impaired endothelial function, both predictors of cardiovascular morbidity, can be favorably influenced by a reduction of particle concentration and adds to a growing body of evidence linking short-term exposure to particulate matter with a systemic inflammatory response.
These negatively charged ions pass their electronic charge to particles in the air so that when the particles touch each other they stick together and fall out of the air. U.S. submarines use air purifiers, as does the poultry industry to keep the feather dust down. People who use ion air purifiers claim they make them feel better, much like being around a stream or water fall in the woods which may be true, as moving water gives off negative ions.