Identifying Air Quality Problems
Some health effects can be useful indicators
of an indoor air quality problem, especially if they appear
after a person moves to a new residence, remodels or refurnishes
a home, or treats a home with pesticides.
If you think that you have symptoms that may be related to
your home environment, discuss them with your doctor or your
local health department to see if they could be caused by
indoor air pollution. You may also want to consult a board-certified
allergist or an occupational medicine specialist for answers
to your questions.
Another way to judge whether your home has or could develop
indoor air problems is to identify potential sources of indoor
air pollution. Although the presence of such sources does
not necessarily mean that you have an indoor air quality problem,
being aware of the type and number of potential sources is
an important step toward assessing the air quality in your
A third way to decide whether your home may have poor indoor
air quality is to look at your lifestyle and activities. Human
activities can be significant sources of indoor air pollution.
Finally, look for signs of problems with the ventilation in
your home. Signs that can indicate your home may not have
enough ventilation include moisture condensation on windows
or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and
air cooling equipment, and areas where books, shoes, or other
items become moldy. To detect odors in your home, step outside
for a few minutes, and then upon reentering your home, note
whether odors are noticeable.