While most people are aware of the importance of the outdoor environment, especially in relation to climate change issue, but also related more directly to our health, the effects of indoor environmental quality are not that common knowledge
Who doesn’t know by now that air pollution such as fine dust and noise pollution are important issues. But most of us don’t realize that people in the Western world in general spend 80 to 90% of their time indoors, at home, at school and at the office. Exposure indoors is thus much longer than outdoors. What most people also don’t realize, is that there are many diseases and disorders related to that indoor environment. In the last decade or so, we are confronted with new diseases and disorders related to indoor environmental quality such as mental illnesses, obesity and illnesses that take longer to manifest, among which cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases and cancer. If you look at the scientific outcomes it seems that staying indoors is not good for our health, even though the conditions seem comfortable enough, according to the standards we apply, according to the control strategies we have taken. This can partly be explained by the way our human bodies cope with the different stressors we are exposed to. We have several stress mechanisms available for that and from research in different fields, it is clear that the relations between the stressors, those mechanisms that take place in the human body causing the diseases and disorders, are very complex. Except for the health effects that we see today, the possible consequences for indoor environment of climate change, is also a topic to be mentioned. The average outdoor air temperature is rising; variation in weather conditions is increasing: we experience more heatwaves, more heavy rainfalls, sudden wind speeds and storms. We observe an increase in smog frequency in urban areas caused by temperature rise, resulting in an even more polluted outdoor air.