ALARM SOUNDED ON
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Eighty-seven percent of American homeowners are not aware that pollution may be worse inside the home than outdoors, according to a survey released today by the American Lung Association. This survey, commissioned by 3M as part of an ongoing educational partnership with the American Lung Association and its Health House Project, supports an earlier association survey in March 1999. It revealed that 85 percent of Americans don't realize indoor air can be a serious health hazard.
Because most Americans are not aware of the dangers of poor indoor air, millions may mistakenly believe they can avoid breathing unhealthy air simply by staying inside their homes and offices during "Code Red" days - days rated as unhealthy by the Environmental Protection Agency's Outdoor Air Quality Index. In fact, the vast majority of Americans limit their outdoor activities during such "Code Red" days.
Both American Lung Association surveys identify the need for more public education about the potential dangers of indoor air. According to the EPA, the levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher - and occasionally more than 100 times higher - than outdoor levels. EPA research also indicates that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors and indoor air pollution is one of the five most urgent environmental problems facing the United States.
"With all the attention surrounding dangerous levels of smog, ozone and other pollutants in the air we breathe outdoors, many lose sight of the fact that many of these same pollutants - as well as pollen and other allergens - can easily find their way indoors," said Mark LaLiberte, building expert and technical advisor to the American Lung Association Health House Project. "Fortunately, there are numerous easy and relatively inexpensive steps homeowners can take to improve air quality in the home."
For Breathe Easy Month in May, the American Lung Association Health House Project is offering dozens of such steps, including:
This survey also found that although 77 percent of American homeowners have a forced air heating or central air conditioning system, only one in eight of these homeowners uses a high efficiency filter in the furnace - such as a Filtrete micro particle and airborne allergen reduction filter from 3M. High efficiency filters not only protect the furnace, but contain electrostatically charged fibers designed to capture potentially harmful micro particles such as pollen, pet dander and smoke.
In conjunction with Clean Air Week (May 16-22), the American Lung Association will be releasing survey results on Americans' awareness of outdoor air quality issues. And as part of an ongoing educational partnership, 3M and the American Lung Association Health House Project are offering a booklet, "A Guide for Creating a Healthier Home," filled with many more tips to reduce exposure to pollutants and allergens. To obtain a copy free-of-charge, call 1-800-388-3458 or send an e-mail with your name and mailing address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Lung Association has been fighting lung disease for more than 90 years. With the generous support of the public and the help of volunteers, the association has seen many advances against lung disease. Along with its medical section, the American Thoracic Society, the association provides programs of education, community service, advocacy and research. For more information, please call 1-800-LUNG-USA or visit their website at www.lungusa.org.
The Health House Project, a national education project, is raising the standards for healthier indoor environments through its national demonstration homes, training programs for consumers and builders, and educational partnerships and alliances. The Health House Project is developed and managed by the American Lung Association of Minnesota, in cooperation with participating local Lung Associations. For more information, visit their website at www.healthhouse.org.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY SURVEY KEY FINDINGS
The EPA has identified indoor air quality as one of the five most urgent environmental problems facing the United States. However, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the American Lung Association in March 1999, 85 percent of Americans do not realize that indoor air can be a serious health hazard.
A follow up survey conducted on behalf of the American Lung Association in April 1999 (403 homeowners nationwide surveyed with +/- 5 percent margin of error) further reinforced that Americans are unaware of the dangers of indoor air:
Written by: American Lung Association
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