The Effect of Indoor Air Pollution on our Brain Function

By: Brian Schutt  |  November 9, 2015

A new study—conducted by scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health, SUNY-Upstate Medical School and Syracuse University and published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal—just revealed that all the time we spend indoors, nearly 92% of our lives, can be making us stupid.

But don’t worry. We’re all about to get smarter.

According to the study, “normal indoor levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds negatively impact human cognitive function and decision-making. These chemicals are found everywhere, from plastics and newspapers to ceiling tiles and vinyl floors.”

And while much of the study related to air quality in conventional office buildings, I’d venture to say the same can be said for our homes. Especially this time of year, we spend a lot of time inside our house—keeping warm and dry.

The Observations

During their study, the researched followed 24 people for six days during their normal eight-hour workday. On alternating days, the participants were exposed to three different office environments:

  1. Conventional conditions, which included “high concentrations of volatile organic compounds.”
  2. Green conditions, with low VOC concentration.
  3. Green+ conditions, with high levels of outdoor ventilation.

At the end of each workday, the participants were given a cognitive assessment test, which “measured nine functional areas, including basic, applied and focused activity levels; task orientation; crisis response; information seeking; information usage; breadth of approach; and strategy.”

And in the end, the scores were much higher on green days than on conventional days: 61 percent higher in low VOC concentration environments and 101 percent higher in Green+ environments.

Our Solutions

So what does all this mean? Are we trying to say you may be getting dumber sitting in your house?

No, but the EPA estimates that indoor air—in an office and in your home–can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside air. And the study reaffirmed the importance of clean, unpolluted air in your home, especially during the winter months when it’s harder to bring in outdoor ventilation.

If you’d like to clean and purify the air inside your home, we have three solutions to consider.

Option 1: Carrier Infinity Air Purifier

This award-winning system not only captures but also inactivates 99% of germs and 95% of particles floating around your house—even the ones as small as .30-1.0 microns in size. Some of the features with the Carrier Infinity Air Purifier include:

  • Long-life MERV (Minimum efficiency reporting value) 15 filter
  • Patented Capture & Kills technology
  • Proven effective against 13 airborne pathogens, including various flus, cold, and measles

Option 2: Carrier Performance Air Purifier

With its high-efficiency ratings and built-in “Capture & Kills” technology that helps reduce germs, allergens, and other airborne pollutants, Carrier’s Performance Air Purifier is our most popular indoor air quality product. Some of the features with this model include:

  • Long-life MERV 13 filter
  • Patented Capture & Kills technology
  • Captures 75% of particles .30 to 1.0 microns in size
  • Kills up to 96% of germs, pollen, and mold
  • Proven effective against three common pathogens, including human flu, common cold

Option 3: Honeywell Media Filter Cabinet Air Cleaner

The easy-to-replace media filter increases the available surface air for filtration, reducing the allergens in your breathing air. Some of the features in the Honeywell Media Filter Cabinet Air Cleaner include:

  • MERV 9 filter
  • Long-lasting filter, lasting up to 12 months
  • Up to 4x more effective and 85 percent more efficient at capturing airborne particles than standard 1-inch filters

If you’d like help in choosing an air purifier for your home, please give us a call at 317-670-0171.

Brian Schutt

About 

is the co-owner of Homesense Heating | Cooling. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he loves the city and its people, and is committed to bringing a servants mindset into the heating and cooling industry. One of the ways he does that is to translate the technical language of HVAC into the manageable and understandable for homeowners.

Have a question? Tweet him and you'll get an answer promptly.

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