Indoor Air Quality: Creating Safe, Healthy Environments

By Nussbaumer, Linda L. | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, January 2006 | Go to article overview

Indoor Air Quality: Creating Safe, Healthy Environments


Nussbaumer, Linda L., Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


To create healthy environments, designers and consumers should become knowledgeable about multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). MCS is a condition in which a person reports sensitivity to various chemicals and other irritants at very low concentration levels. Individuals have become ill from chemicals emitted from materials within interior spaces, and some used in building construction, interior finishes, and furnishings. Products for installations may contain chemicals that trigger MCS. Therefore, to prevent or lessen MCS, designers should specify safe, healthy materials, and family and consumer sciences (FCS) professionals can provide education for consumers in purchasing materials for healthy environments.

For 60 years, people have been experiencing health problems and becoming ill from poor indoor air quality (IAQ) (Randolph, 1945, 1947). This illness is commonly known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a condition in which an individual becomes sensitive to numerous chemicals and other irritants at very low concentration levels (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2003). People with MCS experience various symptoms caused by chemicals in their environments.

Though many designers (architects and interior designers) create safe, healthy environments for clients, due to lack of education, not all specify products and materials that promote good IAQ (Haberle, 2003). This is a concern because furnishings such as carpet and synthetic textiles specified for interior environments may contain chemicals that emit toxic fumes into the interior. These toxins may affect IAQ and thus people with MCS (American Institute of Architects Colorado, 1997; Anderson, 1997; Riggs, 2003; Williams, 2001).

FCS professionals educate consumers on products and materials for homes. However, they may not be educating consumers on the purchase of materials that promote a safe, healthy environment and prevent indoor air pollution. Both designers and FCS professionals should become familiar with the causes and symptoms of MCS to avoid triggers and decrease exposures to toxic chemicals. A safe and healthy environment with good IAQ improves quality of life for families.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

MCS describes numerous symptoms related to environmental factors (Barrett & Gots, 1998). Symptoms of MCS may be triggered by exposure to one or more chemicals (Gist, 1999; Thivierge, 1999). One group of chemicals that triggers symptoms is volatile organic compounds (VOC), which vaporize or become a gas at room temperature (EPA, 2003). VOCs may be either natural or synthetic organic compounds (Godish, 2001) and include formaldehyde, pesticides, solvents, and cleaning agents (EPA, 1994; Wittenberg, 1996).

VOCs are found in products such as adhesives, sealants, solvents, and lubricants used in the construction and installation process; in some pressed wood products used in cabinetry or furniture; and in products for housekeeping and maintenance (EPA, 1995; Wasley, 2000; Wittenberg, 1996). Formaldehyde-based resins are found in home construction materials (e.g., particleboard, fiberboard, paneling, plywood) and formaldehyde can be found in finishes on permanent press fabrics (clothing, draperies, mattress ticking) (EPA, 1994). Pesticides may exist in building construction materials (EPA, 1994; Wasley, 2000), and asbestos-containing insulation is still found in some buildings.

Other irritating chemicals are available in synthetic textiles, tobacco smoke, petroleum products, food additives and preservatives, food sweeteners, medicines such as aspirin and synthetic vitamins (Meggs, 1999; Miller, 1994), personal care, crafts, and hobby products. Pollutants also may be emitted through mechanical and electrical systems, and allergens and biological contaminants-mold, mildew, and dust-may be trapped in carpet (EPA, 1994; Tremblay, Peng, Kreul-Froseth, & Dunbar, 1999). In addition, radon and outdoor air pollution can affect indoor air quality (EPA, 1995). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Indoor Air Quality: Creating Safe, Healthy Environments
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.